“Never forget– when mailing the US postal breast cancer stamp, you not only raise money for the cure but you also send a message of awareness and early detection”

Dr. Ernie Bodai

One mission. One stamp. One world. Stamp-out breast cancer.

Meet Dr. Ernie Bodai

Ernie Bodai, M.D. was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1951. He and his family lived in a bomb shelter for nearly a year, before they managed to escape during the Hungarian Revolution in 1957. Following immigration to the United States, Dr. Bodai received his B.A and M.S. degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles. He received his M.D. degree from the University of California, Davis in 1977, where he currently serves as Clinical Professor of Surgery. Dr. Bodai served as Chief of Surgery, Kaiser Permanente, Sacramento for 15 years and today directs the Breast Health Center which has been recognized nationally as a “Center of Excellence.”

Dr. Bodai has authored over 250 medical articles and has published 5 books, 4 of which focus on cancer. He holds a number of medical device patents, is a member of numerous prestigious surgical societies and is the recipient of many national awards.

After treating thousands of patients with breast cancer, he became frustrated at the pace of funding for research to find a cure. In a remarkable one-man lobbying effort he was able to convince Congress and the U.S. Postal Service to issue the Breast Cancer Research Stamp– the first ever stamp in U.S. history that sells at more than face value with the surplus amount donated directly to breast cancer research. Over 950 million stamps have been sold, raising over $65 million for crucial research.

In 2000, Dr. Ernie Bodai became a prostate cancer survivor. Found early, the disease only slowed him down for a very short time. He has become a passionate

advocate for prostate cancer research and is currently working with the U.S. Postal Service to produce a similar stamp to benefit prostate cancer research. Dr. Bodai also spends his time testifying at the state and national levels for increased funding for prostate cancer research. While breast cancer has emerged from the shadows, prostate cancer remains more shrouded despite the fact that 1 out of 6 American men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. The American Cancer Society reports that in 2008, 25% of all new cancers in men will be prostate cancer and 26% of all new cancers in women will be breast cancer. These numbers make breast cancer and prostate cancer the leading types of cancers for each gender (excluding skin cancer).

Now, Dr. Bodai’s mission is twofold: to stamp out both prostate and breast cancer.

In 2002, Dr. Bodai launched a national campaign called: “Screen Together– Live Together.” The idea is simple: When a woman goes for her annual mammogram, take the spouse for a PSA test (prostate specific antigen). Both annual tests are important to live your best lives possible– together!

Dr. Bodai lives and works in Sacramento, California and is married to Carol who has been his strength from the first day he started this journey to stamp out cancer. They have two sons.

To learn more about Dr. Ernie Bodai,
visit www.curebreastcancer.org

Here are Dr. Bodai’s words of how it all started.

I will never forget that night. The idea came to me in a flash. In December 1995 I was stamping holiday cards and preparing for a lecture on the history of breast cancer surgery, when suddenly it occurred to me: Why not have a stamp to raise money for breast cancer research? The next thing I knew, I had become a cancer activist.

I first contacted the U.S. Postmaster General with the idea for the stamp and was promptly turned down. Then I wrote letters to all the female members of Congress, with no response.

Incensed, I flew to Washington, DC, and started knocking on the doors of Capitol Hill lawmakers. I essentially became a full-time lobbyist while continuing a very busy breast surgical practice. It was exhausting, but I firmly believed that my efforts and hard work would pay off. Americans are very philanthropic, so I knew that all I had to do was to get legislation passed and the monies would start being raised.

After two years and a dozen trips back and forth across the country, my persistence paid off. In 1997, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the “Stamp Out Breast Cancer Act” authorizing the Postal Service to establish and sell this special stamp, initially two years, to raise money for breast cancer research. The stamp became the first in the nation’s history dedicated to raising funds for a special cause. Due to its success, the Breast Cancer Stamp continued after the first 2 years and today, more than a decade later, has become the highest selling Stamp in the United States, now approaching one billion.

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