September 28 was the occasion for two special honors for Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Philip McCarthy, MD, who was applauded for his achievements by the City of Buffalo and at the inaugural Fire Ball Sickle Cell Awareness Dinner & Award Ceremony.

Dr. McCarthy is presented with the Fire Ball Award by patient Josh Collins
The theme for the Fire Ball, presented by the nonprofit organization Confident Girl Mentoring Program as a way to honor local families impacted by sickle cell disease, was Resilience in the Face of Adversity. Dr. McCarthy, Director of Roswell Park’s Transplant & Cellular Therapy (TCT) Center, was the night’s special honoree in recognition of the care he has provided for Josh Collins, the first person locally to receive a blood stem cell transplant (BMT) as treatment for sickle cell disease.

“Five years ago I didn’t think I’d be here today,” said 30-year-old Collins, who underwent BMT at the Buffalo cancer center in 2014 and presented Dr. McCarthy with the award. “I was given an opportunity to receive this transplant, and Dr. McCarthy walked me through this journey. I am grateful for Dr. McCarthy and Roswell Park staff for eradicating this disease in my body and providing an opportunity for other patients to be treated in Buffalo.”

Earlier in the day, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown announced that it was officially Dr. Philip L. McCarthy Day in the city. In a proclamation, Mayor Brown praised Dr. McCarthy for pioneering several advances, leading studies that have pushed cancer research forward, and for “paving the way for a better tomorrow.”

Since 1975, experts at Roswell Park have performed more than 2,600 transplants, serving as one of the first centers in the world to routinely offer blood and marrow transplantation. The TCT Center delivers next-generation therapies by nationally recognized specialists, with many treatments pioneered and launched by the translational research team.

The Confident Girl Mentoring Program is a nonprofit organization that aims to support and facilitate youth success by inspiring kids to achieve their goals.


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Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is a community united by the drive to eliminate cancer’s grip on humanity by unlocking its secrets through personalized approaches and unleashing the healing power of hope. Founded by Dr. Roswell Park in 1898, it is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center in Upstate New York. Learn more at, or contact us at 1-800-ROSWELL (1-800-767-9355) or