James S. Allan, MD, MBA, AST President

A few years ago, I had the occasion to give my dad’s eulogy.

In a few brief moments, I had to tell a church full of people why I thought my dad was a great guy. Until then, I had never really thought about the specifics of this. I just knew that he was great and that had been sufficient.

With only a few days to prepare a coherent defense of my dad’s greatness, I settled upon a single theme: generosity.

My dad was generous: with his love, with his knowledge, with his time, and with his money.

He knew that he would not live forever, and he realized that his greatest impact would be the legacy that he left in the care of others.

My dad felt a strong obligation to share his relative fortune (we were an upper middle class family by most measures) with those who had less. He always over-tipped at restaurants, even when the service was atrocious. Regarding the excessive tip, he would lean over to me and quietly say, “They’re doing the best they can with what they’ve got,” and then he would thank the server with a smile.

It was his way of saying what Einstein once said: “It is every man’s obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.”

To this end, it is that special time of year when I write to cajole -- encourage -- inspire -- beg? -- each and every one of you to make a small contribution to the AST.

The AST remains committed to providing its membership with exceptional educational opportunities, while at the same time supporting research and public advocacy -- all with the intent of improving our patients' lives. Our volunteer leaders work assiduously to hold dues stable and to shepherd our existing financial resources. We are also continuing our efforts to develop a public face to increase external philanthropic support.

As I mentioned in my blog last year, one of the most important factors that external donors examine when deciding whether to support a society is the extent to which the society is supported by its own membership. The principal metric commonly used in this regard is “percent participation.” The actual dollar amount of internal support is typically a secondary consideration.

I am therefore hoping that every member will make a small, tax-deductible contribution to the AST. Make this your legacy: your generous contribution is an investment in the future of our society and in the future of transplantation.

Please accept my sincere wishes to you and your families for a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I am truly fortunate to have all of you and the AST as part of my life.

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