Rell Sunn Award


A special award was established in 1998 to honor the memory of Rell Kapolioka’ehukai Sunn, the “First Lady of Surfing.” Rell was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was just 32 and given only months to live. Rather than submitting to the disease and giving up on life, Rell did exactly the opposite, choosing to live life to its fullest. She passed away on January 2nd, 1998 at the age of 47. Rell came to the very first Cancer Center Luau and brought with her the aloha spirit.

Established in 1998 to honor the memory of Rell Sunn, the “Queen of Makaha,” this perpetual trophy is awarded each year to the person who displays the qualities shared by Rell and the Moores UC San Diego Cancer Center Luau & Legend of Surfing Invitational – who has made a difference in the battle against cancer and embodies the aloha spirit.

The Rell Sunn Award is presented at the Luau, August 2016. View past award recipients below and contact us to submit a nomination for this year's award.


2016 Rell Sunn Award Recipient

Dr. Ferrara

Dr. Ferrara

Dr. Ferrara earned his M.D. degree in 1981 from the University of Catania Medical School in Italy.  After completing his postdoctoral research at the University of California, San Francisco, he joined Genentech Inc. in 1988.  It is there where he spent nearly 25 years working on the isolation, molecular cloning and biological characterization of  VEGF-A which resulted in the development of bevacizumab, the first anti-angiogenic agent to be approved by the FDA for cancer therapy.  His research also led to the development of ranibizumab, which has been FDA-approved for the treatment of multiple intraocular neovascular disorders.  In December 2012, Dr. Ferrara joined the University of California, San Diego as a Distinguished Professor of Pathology, Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Ophthalmology and Senior Deputy Director for Basic Science of the Moores Cancer Center.  He plans to continue his research focusing on the biology of angiogenesis and the identification of its regulators. 

Dr. Ferrara has authored over 300 scientific publications, which have been cited over 70,000 times.  He is also the recipient of numerous scientific awards, including the AACR Cain Memorial Award, the Lefoulon-Delalande-Institut de France Prize, the Passano Award, the General Motors Cancer Research Award, the ASCO Science of Oncology Award, the Pezcoller Foundation-AACR International Award, the Lasker-deBakey Clinical Medical Research Award, the Janssen Award for Biomedical Research, the Economist Innovation Award, the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences and the Gairdner Foundation International Award.  Dr. Ferrara has been an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, USA since 2006.


Past Awardees

2013- Kary Mullis
2012 – Roger Tsien
2011 – Dennis Carson
2010 – Connie Matsui
2009 – David Easter, MD
2008 – Doris Howell, MD
2007 – Linda Olson, MD
2006 – Georgia Robins-Sadler, MD
2005 – David Tarin, MD, PhD
2004 – Jon Greif, MD
2003 – Alex Szekely
2002 – J. Craig Venter, PhD
2001 – Mark Renneker, MD
2000 – Charles “Chuck” Gorder, Sr.
1999 – Dani Grady
1998 – Bill Otterson

2013 Rell Sunn Awardee Dr. Kary Mullis, and Directory of UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center Dr. Scott Lippma

2013 Rell Sunn Awardee Dr. Kary Mullis, and Directory of UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center Dr. Scott Lippma