Andy first became involved with the Coalition over four years ago when he contacted us via email. He was a scientist who had been working on a vaccine for colorectal cancer when he was diagnosed. He quickly became a trusted advisor on scientific issues, and patiently worked with the staff on complex scientific and statistical matters. As a result, he served a year as our Director of Research Advocacy. His background as both a scientist and patient was invaluable to the Coalition as we laid the groundwork for the organization’s research program.
When he felt that his treatment schedule wouldn’t allow him to serve effectively on a daily basis, he joined the Coalition’s Board of Directors. His focus was pushing for great science that would translate to patient benefit as quickly as possible. It was under Andy’s guidance and leadership that the Lisa Fund research program became a reality.
Andy and his wife Beth were married in 2001 after a long relationship that stretched from coast to coast and included graduate school and research work. Their mutual love and respect glowed around them.
Nancy Roach, Coalition Founder and Board Chair, shared her thoughts about Andy:
Watching Andy and Beth together made me laugh – they both had a natural curiosity that reminded me of Rudyard Kipling’s Elephant Child. All conversations were peppered with “Why do you think that? What’s the basis for your assertion?” And they both tackled problems like scientists, whether it was cutting down a hundred foot tall tree at their cabin in northern California, taking out a pond in their back yard or replacing a broken stove-top.
His passing leaves a hole in my life and in my heart.
Like many of us, I am driven by the memories of the people I’ve met in my cancer journey. I founded the Colorectal Cancer Coalition because I felt that the voices of the people who died from colorectal cancer needed to be heard at the tables where research priorities were being set and in the halls of Congress. Andy understood my dream, and helped move it forward – knowing that his work wouldn’t help him, but might help others in the future.
In the memory and honor of my friend, here is a passage from John Donne:
No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
Andy, you will live on in the hearts and actions of the many people who loved you.