Trained as a banker and seasoned as a businessman, Lane Adams left his native Salt Lake City 25 years ago to become Chief Executive Officer of the American Cancer Society. He brought with him many years of experience as an active ACS volunteer on the local, state and regional levels.
At the time, the American Cancer Society was a sleeping giant. Then, as now, it was the world's largest voluntary health organization, with an annual income of $35 million. Although hundreds of thousands of volunteers stood ready to help in the battle against cancer, the Society lacked the organizational framework to take advantage of its human resources on a national scale.
With his rare combination of consummate management skills, creative vision, and a knowing touch with people, Lane Adams—working with volunteers—opened up communications between the 58 independent Divisions and the National Office that serves them. By establishing a policy that prohibits the solicitation or acceptance of federal, state or local tax funds, the ACS strengthened the urgency of its appeals, and made the Society unique among voluntary organizations worldwide. Under his leadership, the Society has strengthened its influence among local, state and federal policy makers.
A former member of the National Cancer Institute's Citizen Advisory Council, Mr. Adams's perspective of the nation's total research effort is reflected in the American Cancer Society's greatly expanded and innovative research program. It is second only to the US government as a source of funds for cancer research and care.
Since 1960, the American Cancer Society has not only grown into a $250 million a year institution with two million volunteers, with a continuing emphasis on the prevention and early detection of cancer, but it has also matured into the great model for voluntary organizations worldwide.
To Lane Adams, who has channeled the energies of all the warm, brilliant and dedicated people whose lives have been touched by this dread disease, and whose determination to defeat cancer lights the darkness around them and the hopes of those who are helping in its conquest, this 1985 Albert Lasker Public Service Award is given.