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Winn statement on the passing of Walter Lawrence, Jr., M.D.,

Nov 09, 2021

Photo of Drs. Ginder, Lawrence, and Winn Three Massey Cancer Center directors: (left to right) Gordon D. Ginder, M.D., Walter Lawrence, Jr., M.D., Robert A. Winn, M.D.

The VCU Massey Cancer Center family was saddened today to learn of the passing of its first cancer center director, Walter Lawrence, Jr., M.D. Current director, Robert A. Winn, M.D., released the following statement:

"It’s not often we get the chance to stand on the shoulders of giants. It’s safe to say this has been one of those opportunities. I am heartbroken at the passing of Dr. Walter Lawrence. The first director of this cancer center, the reason we are able to proudly call ourselves a National Cancer Institute-designated center, a beloved and extraordinary figure on the campus of VCU and a strong supporter, mentor and man I was proud to call my friend. I could go on for a while about his accomplishments and service to our field: president of the American Cancer Society, Chairman of the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer, chief of surgery for the 46th Army Surgical Hospital in Korea.

"But the real mark Dr. Lawrence leaves behind is the mission to help those less fortunate than ourselves. To ensure that health and cancer burdens are not carried more heavily by some. And he never rested in this mission. As late as last year, he was back on his pedestal, using his platform to speak for those voices who were heard the least, ensuring that everyone has access for affordable, world-class health care. Make no mistake, this mission that drives us here at Massey, is one we will fight for every day in the name of Walter Lawrence. My heart goes out to Walter’s family and I thank them for their support of such a great man and the sacrifices they made to share him with the rest of the world."

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