This is the first Gastric Cancer Foundation newsletter that has been distributed without a welcome message from our founder J.P. Gallagher. Sadly, J.P. lost his courageous battle with gastric cancer on February 26th, more than five years after his initial diagnosis.
The last month has brought back many memories of my own son Ben’s long struggle and passing. When Ben was in remission, his oncologist asked me if I would speak to another patient who was in remission and trying to create an organization to advance research and help patients and caregivers deal with the disease. This was my introduction to J.P., and he soon asked me to join him in creating the Gastric Cancer Foundation. Off we went – inspired, challenged and racing to do as much as we could with limited funds and an abundance of goodwill. Two weeks before Ben died, he looked at me and asked me to stay with GCF “until the job is done, because no one should have to deal with this, Dad.” I gave him my word, and I did stay with it. I never imagined that our friend J.P. would become sick again and leave us.
J.P. left behind a wonderful family and many friends. He also left us with a Foundation that is on bedrock, having established a track record of leading edge research, the first ever Gastric Cancer Registry, and volunteers around the USA who are raising awareness and supporting our work. Newly diagnosed patients and their caregivers can now turn to our website for authoritative information on the disease and how to live with the after effects of treatment. And, yet, there is much more work to be done.
Neither J.P. nor Ben would want us to dwell on the past. Rather, both would want us to rededicate ourselves to the task at hand. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to become a friend of J.P. Gallagher’s, and I am grateful that he invited me to be his partner in building the Gastric Cancer Foundation. As I now follow J.P. as Chairman, the GCF Board and I will draw inspiration from his leadership, energy and spirit – and we will do our work with renewed determination. Please join us.
Our continued progress will honor the memories of J.P. Gallagher and Ben Feinstein … and far too many others who did not live long enough to see us conquer this disease.
Thank you for your support,
Chairman, Gastric Cancer Foundation
Board of Directors