Heroes may slip from our realms, but they are never forgotten
Nearly two years ago, I wrote of the Embrace of the Brotherhood. In it, I described an afternoon I spent with two fellow patients and spoke of how, through mutual concern and caring, men with prostate cancer bond. I wrote: An embrace from a fellow member of this fraternal order is like no other. Unspoken, and in a way no other exchange can, it says: I wish you peace. I wish you strength. I wish you life.
Now both men who inspired that piece–Trip Casscells and Larry Stupski are gone. Trip lost his 10-year battle with prostate cancer last fall. Larry, also a wonderful man, friend and philanthropist, left our world on Saturday. Yes, they may be gone, but I will never forget them or the genuine concern they showed for me and my journey with this disease.
Beyond being patients, both Trip and Larry were ardent advocates and supporters of research programs that are delivering better treatments and cures for prostate cancer. Like Trip, Larry participated in clinical trials that will benefit scores of current and future men diagnosed with this disease. As a philanthropist, Larry contributed millions of dollars to ensure that the latest ground-breaking research could move forward. He and his wife, Joyce, sponsored Young Investigators to encourage new, innovative thinkers to commit to joining the prostate cancer research enterprise and Creativity Awards to get novel research ideas off the ground. Larry also helped support one of the first two prostate cancer Dream Teams ever assembled and announced just last year, to drive the promise of precision medicine and oncology for treating this disease. He was also a PCF Board member. Larry and his wife also funded a multitude of educational initiatives through the Stupski Foundation. Selfless comes to mind as a word to describe Larry.
Two down and one left standing. The loss of these two outstanding men could leave me questioning the value of the embrace we shared on that sunny Saturday afternoon in September 2011.
But, it doesn’t.
Through their advocacy, support of clinical trials and research, and heartfelt concern for other patients, I feel their embrace surrounding me… following me through my own journey. Their wishes for peace, strength and life ring as true today–for me, millions of fellow survivors and countless others yet to be diagnosed–as they did almost two years ago. As we continue to make progress I am beginning to understand that their wishes are so much more. They are promises that they leave behind as their legacy.
Larry, we are blessed to have had you walk among us. As I said at the time of Trip’s passing, I can no longer wish you strength and life. But I wish you peace.
Thank you on behalf of so many men and their families. You will not be forgotten.