Inspirational Member of the Month: Dr. Anthony Back
If you have ever spent any time with the morning crowd here at the club than you probably know Anthony Back, also known as, Dr. Tony. To put it into simple terms, Dr. Tony is an amazing human being in every way.
He’s the guy you see doing everything. Doing everything consistently and doing it with a smile on his lips and a twinkle in his eyes. He is involved with everything from training to Pilates, he’s in the pool & he explores Feldenkrais too! All of this is done mostly at 6 am, with a few exceptions for worldwide travel in service to humanity which we will get to.
One of the things (of which there are many) I love most about Dr. Tony is his ceaseless curiosity. He has the wonder of a 6 year old child about all things! Dr. Tony never ceases to ask questions, questions that inevitably lead to more questions which creates a deep and often profound search for answers. He is never bothered if an answer does not readily present itself- the answer is in the journey itself and he always seems satisfied with simply exploring.
For such a profoundly accomplished man, he carries himself in a genuinely humble manner. An unsuspected hero of sorts. See, Dr. Tony is intimately involved with the process of dying. He travels the world training doctors, health care providers and hospice workers on subject. He delivers hard news to patients and families with the presence of the Grand Canyon. He is an advocate for all of us as we transition into the inevitable stages of the end of life.
Dr. Tony recently created an app that will help Doctors remain present, open, and patient with clients as they have difficult conversations. He maintains a clinical practice at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance as an oncologist who specializes in the gastrointestinal system & travels the world incessantly to serve as a patient’s advocate, writing papers and publishing books for the medical community about how to cultivate good communication skills. Dr. Tony is also a professor at the UW & Fred Hutchinson and co-directs the UW Center for Excellence in Palliative Care with Dr. Randy Curtis. He also serves as a light for remote societies around the globe, helping to educate communities about the stigma surrounding illness and death. He is truly a Master in having “difficult conversations”.
Dr. Tony shares his exuberance of life, and it is infectious. I am in awe of his deep spiritual studies and commitment to the betterment of human kind. For so many reasons, Dr. Tony, I bow to you!