Sam Donaldson joins Moffitt board

Sam Donaldson, veteran ABC News reporter and anchor and host of The Sam Donaldson Show – Live in America, has agreed to chair the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institutes new board of advisors.

Donaldson officially accepted the position in November 2003, said Patricia Goldsmith, the vice president of Moffitt.

Donaldson, a cancer survivor, is a close friend of former U.S. Sen. Connie Mack, who currently chairs Moffitt’s board of directors. Donaldson came to Moffitt last September to deliver the keynote speech at the grand opening of Moffitt’s new clinic tower and Vincent A. Stabile Research Building.

After the event, Donaldson spent some time at the institution and was impressed with what Moffitt was doing, she said.

“Mr. Donaldson was incredibly impressed with Moffitt and our commitment to finding a cure for cancer,” Goldsmith said. “He was very impressed with the energy and the passion that he saw in this institution, and he wanted to be part of it.”

Donaldson was diagnosed with melanoma eight years ago and is a frequent voice of hope for people with cancer, she said.

“Cancer is not an automatic death sentence. There are over 9 million of us living in the U.S.,” Donaldson said in a Moffitt news release.

In addition to Donaldson, Moffitt has also chosen two more high-profile figures for its new board of advisers. One of the new members is Richard Klausner, a former director of the National Cancer Institute and the current director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The other person who has agreed to serve on Moffitt’s board is LaSalle Leffall, a professor of surgery at Howard University and the chairman of the board of the Susan B. Komen Foundation.

The Moffitt Board of Advisers is an appointed board whose primary role is to promote the mission and objectives of Moffitt by serving as advocates for the institution on a national level. Ultimately, the board is expected to include 50 high-level individuals from diverse backgrounds nationwide.

Everyone chosen will have one common interest that they share with Moffitt – “to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer.”

Each member of the board will visit Moffitt individually and all members will also meet as a group once a year on a formal basis to learn what the organization is doing, Goldsmith said.

“This will help them to learn about Moffitt so that they have a good understanding of Moffitt to be visible advocates for them,” Goldsmith said.