Ernie Bodai, M.D. was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1951. He and his family lived in a bomb shelter for nearly a year, before they managed to escape during the Hungarian Revolution in 1957. Following immigration to the United States, Dr. Bodai received his B.A. and M.S. degrees from the University of California, Los Angeles. He received his M.D. degree from the University of California, Davis in 1977, where he currently serves as Clinical Professor of Surgery. Dr. Bodai served as Chief of Surgery, Kaiser Permanente, Sacramento for 15 years and today directs the Breast Health Center at the Kaiser Permanente Sacramento, which has been recognized, nationally as a “Center of Excellence”. He has authored over 250 medical articles and has published 6 books, 4 of which focus on cancer. He holds a number of medical device patents, is a member of numerous prestigious surgical societies and is the recipient of many national awards.
After treating thousands of patients with breast cancer he became frustrated at the pace of funding for research. In a remarkable one-man lobbying effort he was able to convince Congress and the U.S. Postal Service to issue the Breast Cancer Research Stamp – the first ever stamp in U.S. history that sells at more than face value (55 cents) with the surplus amount donated directly to breast cancer research. Over 900 million stamps have been sold raising nearly $70 million for crucial cancer research.
He began the “Global Journey” to bring the stamp program to the international community. To date over 77 countries have begun work on this important project. In October 2005, Hungary released the first-ever-international version of the BCRS. Belize, Croatia, El Salvador, Grenada, Jordan, Kenya, Kosovo, Micronesia, Serbia, the Gambia and Macedonia have also issued the stamp.