David Easter to receive Rell Sunn award

Dr. David Easter, director of the general surgery program at UCSD, will receive the Rell Sunn “Queen of Makaha” Award at the Moores UCSD Cancer Center Luau & Longboard Invitational on Aug. 23.

He is being honored for his “patient-centered approach and dedication to training a new generation of surgeons,” according to a news release.

The award honors a local individual or individuals who “best embody the true ‘aloha spirit’ and display the qualities shared by Rell Sunn and the Luau & Longboard Invitational - the battle against cancer, combined with unselfishness, compassion and a dedication to helping others,” said Jessica Yingling, co-chairwoman of the event.

Sunn, a Hawaiian surfer, all-around water woman and goodwill ambassador, fought cancer for 15 years before dying in 1998 when she was 47. She was known not just for her competitive abilities and contributions to surfing, but also for her contributions to Hawaii’s youth and for epitomizing the spirit of the islands.

UCSD’s Easter was chosen for the Rell award for his passion for patients and the students he mentors as director of the general surgery residency program. He’s also a regular at the Luau and Longboard Invitational and said in the news release, “I will display this award proudly because I believe that a surgeon’s humanity can be just as important as one’s skills with a scalpel.”

The event features a surfing competition with teams that combine legends of the surfing world with local business, education, medical and biotech leaders, as well as a luau and live and silent auctions. Held at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, it has raised more than $3 million for the Moores UCSD Cancer Center since it was started 15 years ago.

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