David Leader Recipient of D. Jensen Holliday Memorial Award

Gonzales Volunteer Honored


(Baton Rouge, La.) David Leader of Gonzales was presented with the D. Jensen Holliday Memorial Award Tuesday, November 15, 2011 during a reception in his honor at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center, Baton Rouge. “While this prestigious award is open to any individual in our local communities making a difference in the fight against cancer, the selection committee chose a Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center patient volunteer as this year’s recipient and we couldn’t be more proud,” said Todd Stevens, president and CEO, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center.

David Leader began volunteering at the Baton Rouge location in 2001.  When the Gonzales Center opened close to his home, he volunteered there as well.” Leader soon became known as ‘the Center’s angel,’ a constant helping hand to all patients, a guide for new volunteers and a positive influence on patients and employees alike. In 2003 he won the Anna B. Lipsey Memorial Volunteer Award determined by internal peer recognition.

“My wife was treated at Mary Bird Perkins and I saw all the services provided by the tremendous staff and volunteers,” said Leader. “When she passed away, I would ask myself, ‘What can I do to stop the void?’ I didn’t know where to turn, but I later felt that Mary Bird was a force that had come into my life for a reason. I started volunteering and my first week I knew I was where I was supposed to be. Helping others turned out to help me, too.”

“The D. Jensen Holliday Memorial Award was established by the Board of Directors of Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center as an expression of its deep gratitude for the significant contribution Jensen Holliday made to the Center,” said current Board Chairman, Mrs. Donna Saurage. Holliday was a member of the board of directors for ten years, including the two years he served as chairman from 1998- 2000 prior to his death. “Mr. Leader has given so much of himself to so many, I know Jensen would be pleased with the selection committee’s choice,” continued Saurage. “Highlighting just several of Mr. Leader’s volunteer efforts include the fact that he has served almost 2,500 volunteer hours at Mary Bird Perkins since 2006; for more than five years, he has been actively involved in annual fundraisers for Dreams Come True, an organization granting dreams to children with life threatening illnesses, mostly cancer, including cooking for kids and their families at the Ronald McDonald House at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.”

Additionally, Leader served on the board of directors for Community Opportunities for East Ascension, an organization offering career opportunities for disabled persons who are physically and/or mentally impaired; and he is also involved with Habitat of Baton Rouge where he voluntarily completes electrical installations for their projects. “I can certainly see why David Leader was chosen to receive this award tonight,” said Saurage. “Thank you, David, for all you have done to deserve it.”

Mrs. Estelle Holliday offered her congratulations to David Leader and presented him with the D. Jensen Holliday Memorial Award, evoking applause and a standing ovation from the audience. A celebratory reception followed with assorted hors d’oeuvres and beverages.

Nominations are accepted annually for this prestigious award and are reviewed by a select committee whose purpose is to choose the nominee who best reflects Jensen Holliday’s vision and dedication to the greater good of a community served by Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center while making a sustained an measurable difference in the fight against cancer.

Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center is a regional cancer care organization that has been fighting cancer for more than 40 years. With five centers in Baton Rouge, Covington, Hammond, Houma and Gonzales, its service area encompasses 18 parishes across southeast Louisiana. Through a series of innovative partnerships, Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center is succeeding in its mission “to improve survivorship and lessen the burden of cancer through expert treatment, compassionate care, early detection, research and education.”