The University of Colorado is presenting their Distinguished Service Award to AMF co-Founder, David Fajgenbaum

12/16/13: We’re thrilled to announce that AMF co-Founder & Board Chair, David Fajgenbaum, is being awarded the Distinguished Service Award from the University of Colorado at their Commencement Ceremony this Friday, December 20. Full citation below. Brief Press release at: http://www.colorado.edu/news/releases/2013/12/12/cu-boulder-hold-winter-commencement-dec-20

Few people know the power of illness and death as personally as Dr. David C. Fajgenbaum.

While an undergraduate at Georgetown University, David Fajgenbaum lost his mother, Anne Marie, to brain cancer. The experience moved him to create a peer-support and service group at Georgetown for college students dealing with grief. Students across the country who heard about the support group wanted similar groups established at their schools.  David’s research indicated that there was a significant need, so in 2006 he co-founded the National Students of AMF nonprofit organization. The acronym stands for Ailing Mothers and Fathers and his mother’s initials, Anne Marie Fajgenbaum.  Dr. Fajgenbaum serves as the board chair and chapter development chair of the national organization.

Today, Students of AMF chapters are on 43 campuses throughout the country, and over 2,000 students have participated in AMF meetings.  David’s research and advocacy efforts have also pioneered the issue of college student grief to become a priority among higher education officials and to become a national cause featured in Reader’s Digest and NBC’s TODAY show.

After graduating from Georgetown, David Fajgenbaum received a master’s degree in public health from Oxford University in 2008 and received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in May 2013.  During medical school, he conducted research into Multicentric Castleman disease, a poorly understood inflammatory hematologic disease, and created the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network to accelerate research and treatments for the disease, significantly advancing its science. Dr. Fajgenbaum, as a student in the combined MD/MBA program at the University of Pennsylvania, will receive his MBA from the Wharton School at Penn in 2015.

He is a tireless advocate for cancer research, rare disease research, and college students bereavement. He organized the largest “Give A Spit About Cancer” bone marrow drive of 1200+ university teams by registering 350 Penn students in 2011.   In 2005, he conceived of and has led annual Boot Camp 2 Beat Cancer events, which have raised more than $50,000 for cancer research.  He is currently working on a book for grieving college students, to be available in 2015.  From 2005-07, he organized Brain Tumor Action Week in Washington, D.C. and lobbied the U.S. Congress for priority funding for brain cancer research. He was an invited presenter on bereavement and student grief at the National Association for Death Education and Counseling Conference in 2007 and in 2011; he was invited by the American Psychological Association’s to be a panel presenter on bereaved college students at the annual convention in 2005 and 2007.

To watch a video about AMF, go to: youtube.com/watch?v=NlmD1kspt3k