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I am delighted to be able to write an appreciation of my friend Professor Hans-Joachim Meyer on the occasion of his 75th birthday. I have known Achim for over 15 years. I knew him by reputation as we both have a keen academic interest in gastric cancer. However, we first met when we were considering the development of a European network for the provision of services, education, training, and research in stomach cancer. We were appointed as joint coordinators of the group and have hosted biennial meetings across Europe involving different centers of excellence. His insight, background knowledge and diplomacy were extremely helpful in the context of some of the challenges we faced in ensuring a successful collaborative venture. This project has culminated in the establishment of the European chapter of the International Gastric Cancer Association. It has been an absolute privilege to work with him and to make so many new friends through our joint clinical and scientific interests.

He has obviously made a huge contribution to German surgery and indeed national healthcare in general. His position fully justifies his very well-deserved worldwide respect and reputation. He and I have had many conversations of areas of common challenges equally facing UK and German surgeons comparing notes on approaches to surgical training – it has been very interesting to learn that these challenges are as difficult to resolve in Germany as in the UK.

Achim has been a great colleague and a close friend. It was my pleasure to welcome him and his wife Anna to a joint meeting of the German Surgical Society and the Royal College of Surgeons of England. My wife and I are delighted to have spent many enjoyable times with the two of them during our travels and I have also had the privilege to correct him on his use of English! Finally, if he is now retiring, I look forward to our promised game of golf. Achim very many happy returns for your birthday!


Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust

London, UK

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