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Dikembe Mutombo receives humanitarian award from Harvard Medical School

The NBA All-Star was recognized for his international public health efforts

NBA Hall of Famer and humanitarian Dikembe Mutombo has been honored by the Harvard University Medical School for his ongoing humanitarian efforts and dedication to health care during the Global Health Catalyst (GHC) Cancer Summit in Boston.

The three-day summit, hosted by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and Harvard Medical School, brought together African ambassadors, ministers of health, celebrity cancer advocates and global health stakeholders to discuss cancer and examine its global effects on society.

For years, Mutombo has dedicated his time to charities in the United States and across the world. The former NBA All-Star spends most of his time performing charity work and acts of kindness through his Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, which has included hosting and participating in opportunities to feed the homeless, speak to and mentor kids around the world, and raise awareness and support for countries in Africa. He often uses basketball as a teaching tool, conducting clinics while continuing his work with NBA Cares.

Mutombo, a global ambassador who has worked closely with several international organizations to help better communities around the world, was recognized for his philanthropic work and establishing the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital in his homeland, the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The hospital, which has been operating since 2007, is one of the few in the area that offers services to patients with chronic illnesses and diseases such as cancer and sickle-cell anemia.

Representatives from more than 12 countries joined the African ambassadors at the summit, including Mutombo, to brainstorm and discuss ways they can do their part to help nations across the world combat the spread and growth of a disease that claimed the lives of 8.2 million people worldwide in 2012. That same year, 14 million new cases of cancer were discovered.

“Being diagnosed with cancer in a low- or middle-income country often leads to a painful and distressful death,” said Wilfred Ngwa, a medical physicist with the Department of Radiation Oncology at Dana-Farber. “By catalyzing international collaborations and partnerships through this summit, we are advancing global reach and working toward our goal of eradicating cancer with partners across the globe.”

Maya Jones is an associate editor at The Undefeated. She is a native New Orleanian who enjoys long walks down Frenchmen Street and romantic dates to Saints games.