Years ago, I attended an awards ceremony with one of the icons of our industry and my mentor, Andy Cooper. A man of few words, I remember preparing a mental list of small talk topics so I’d be ready for the evening with my endearing yet intimidating boss. But my motor mouth was going faster than our legs, because by the time we’d walked the 10 blocks from CooperKatz to Cipriani where the awards were, I’d already talked through every one of my small talk topics with Andy! In spite of my anxious chatter, Andy and I had a wonderful evening and we brought home an award for our work on behalf of an NFL team physically altering its stadium to be more sustainable and energy efficient.
Andy passed away in 2013 from cancer. Those of us who knew him know that he spent every day he was able during his illness either here in the office or with his wonderful family. His shining creativity and sharp wit were present even on days that his body and mind must have been weak from grueling treatment. Andy’s career included work with so many incredible clients: from the Olympics to the U.S. Treasury, to Vespa, to Virgin Mobile and more. Two years after his passing, we became the PR agency for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, another New York icon. Andy wasn’t here for that win, but he knew more about cancer than most due to his illness. And brilliant and unflappable as he was, Andy faced cancer like everyone else – with uncertainty and with a tenacious drive to learn as much as he could about treatment options. For him, this led him to Memorial Sloan Kettering and to participation in a cancer clinical trial.
To me, that made winning a PRSA Big Apple Award last night – for CooperKatz’s work with MSK to identify and address barriers to clinical trial participation – very meaningful. I know Andy would be proud of this effort. And there’s a lot more work to do, to be sure. But for now, I want to take a moment to dedicate our award last night to Andy. We remember Andy for his amazing PR legacy. And I also want to honor him for participating in a clinical trial. Clinical trials have the ability to bring novel therapies and immediate benefits to many patients today and lead to the cures of tomorrow. In Andy’s case, I know that his pioneering contributions to the PR field – and to the future of cancer treatment – will never be forgotten.
Follow CooperKatz on social media for PR / marketing insights and client & company news.