Alaska Airlines to be Honored with 11th Annual E. Donnall Thomas Medal from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

SEATTLE — July 18, 2006 — The 2006 E. Donnall Thomas Medal of Achievement, presented by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, will be awarded to Alaska Airlines, the commercial air carrier which, in collaboration with its employees, has made significant contributions to charitable causes including cancer research.

Alaska Airlines chairman and CEO Bill Ayer will accept the award at the Thomas Luncheon for Business Leadership to be held Friday, Sept. 29 at the Grand Hyatt Seattle.

"Alaska Airlines is a vital member of our Seattle community. The generosity and compassion of its leadership exemplify the spirit of excellence and true citizenship that the medal represents," said Lee Hartwell, Ph.D., president and director of the Hutchinson Center. "Alaska Airlines consistently reaches beyond its business activities in a quest to help others, touching many lives and serving as an example of outstanding corporate citizenship."

The Thomas Medal of Achievement is named after E. Donnall Thomas, M.D., a founding member of the Hutchinson Center who in 1990 received the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for his pioneering achievements in bone-marrow transplantation, which have saved thousands of lives. The annual award ceremony celebrates business leaders who, like Thomas, have dedicated their lives to excellence and compassion.

"The Hutchinson Center's landmark contributions to advances in cancer prevention, detection and treatment are continuing to bring hope to countless people around the world," Ayer said. "We at Alaska Airlines are deeply honored by this recognition and proud to join with such a distinguished group of local businesses and individuals in support of an organization that is making a major difference in the fight against this deadly disease."

The Alaska Airlines corporate-giving program emphasizes contributions to education, medical research and social services. In addition to the Hutchinson Center, beneficiaries include the Make-A-Wish Foundation, American Red Cross, American Cancer Society, Northwest Medical Teams, the Pacific Science Center and Junior Achievement. In support of cancer research, last year the airline named Athena bottled water, a product whose profits directly benefit women's cancer research, its official bottled water. Since September 2005, the airline has served passengers more than 2 million bottles during flights.

Since its inception in 1995, the Thomas Award has built upon on a tradition of collaboration between local and regional business leaders and the Hutchinson Center. Business leadership helps the Hutchinson Center reach beyond its immediate support network by creating connections between the Center and business communities throughout the Northwest and the world.

For more information regarding the Thomas Award Luncheon, contact

Awardees of the E. Donnall Thomas Medal of Achievement

The Thomas Medal honors those who have dedicated their lives to excellence. It is presented each year by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to a local business or leader distinguished by the kind of inspirational vision, dedication and leadership for which E. Donnall Thomas, M.D., is renowned. Thomas, the Hutchinson Center's emeritus director of Clinical Research, won the 1990 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for his pioneering work in bone-marrow transplantation.

2006 Alaska Airlines
2005 Amgen
2004 SaltChuk Resources Inc.
2003 Herb and Shirley Bridge
2002 Kerry Killinger
2001 Dan and Nancy Evans
2000 H. Jon Runstad and Judith M. Runstad
1999 Samuel N. Stroum
1998 William H. Gates
1997 George and Jane Russell
1996 Frank Shrontz


Media Contacts

Christi Ball Loso
(206) 667-5215

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Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
At Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, our interdisciplinary teams of world-renowned scientists and humanitarians work together to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases. Our researchers, including three Nobel laureates, bring a relentless pursuit and passion for health, knowledge and hope to their work and to the world. For more information, please visit