Like anyone who knew him in our field, I am tragically saddened by the passing of Jack Whelan last Thursday. The fact that this day would eventually come was clear ever since I first met him, and yet the feeling that it is reality now is something hard to explain.
Jack had been diagnosed with a rare and incurable blood cancer 10 years ago, and the Navy veteran he was, Jack fought until the end. I once told him that cancer is no match for Jack Whelan, and indeed he did not lose that battle. He gave thousands of cancer patients hope in the darkest days of their lives, spread the vital importance of clinical research as a treatment option, allowed access to new therapies by driving policy in Massachusetts and DC, and most importantly, he was just one of the kindest people I have ever had the opportunity to meet.
Despite the relentless progression of multiple cancers, a toll unimaginable to anyone, it would be Jack who is the first person to sit down with you if you called him for help or advice. In and out of the infusion chair, Jack dedicated any minute he could spare to inspiring those around him. My condolences go to his family, his wife and three daughters and numerous grandchildren, none of whom I've ever met but heard him speak about with so much genuine love on any occasion I saw him over the past years. Jack was a truly incredible American hero and I feel honored to have known him.