2011 Recipient of the Jay Kuhn Memorial Award is Derek Hambly


Dr. Gavin Morphet, Ancaster Rotary AM and recepient Derek Hambly

 By Bhavisha Morphet

Over the past ten years, the Rotary Club of Ancaster A.M has awarded a $1,000 scholarship to a grade 12 student at the Ancaster High School.  Created in Jay Kuhn’s honour, the scholarship is awarded to a student displaying solid academic standing; athletic achievement; and outstanding leadership qualities.  This year’s recipient of the Jay Kuhn Memorial Award is Derek Hambly.

Although the Rotary Club of Ancaster A.M has annually presented and funded this award, few know the history behind it.  Jay Bradford Kuhn was an Ancaster student attending McMaster University, and working towards his Bachelor of Arts in Social Science, majoring in Geography and Economics.  After his second year of studies, at the age of twenty, Jay was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease.  He began his treatment in August 1997, but intentionally kept the details of his illness from closest friends, believing it was pointless worrying them about what they were unable to control.  His treatments were intense, and according to one specialist ‘as rigorous as any human could take’.  Despite all of this, Jay continued his university studies; played varsity volleyball; worked at Morgan Firestone Arena and TD Canada Trust in Burlington. 

Though Jay maintained a positive attitude, he was well aware of his condition and prognosis.  Prior to his passing in February 2000, one of his final requests to his father was to work to eliminate Hodgkin’s disease so others would not suffer.  In addition to the high school award, the Jay Kuhn Memorial Cancer Research Fund was subsequently established.  Administered by the Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation, over $300,000 has been raised in support of Hodgkin’s Disease research to date.

In May 2000, Jay’s family attended the McMaster graduation ceremony to accept his degree.  While it would have pleased Jay to know he had inspired so many, he would be even more appreciative of the efforts of so many to support his wish to leave behind a legacy.  A wish he expressed often upon learning of his diagnosis.  In his 24 years, he showed what a life lived with respect, integrity, and humour could cultivate – he has made a difference and will never be forgotten.