US Patient advocate Jack Whelan (@jackwhelan) died last week. He had a rare blood cancer called Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia for which there wasn’t an available treatment. However, he lived with the condition for many years and brought the patient’s voice to countless conferences and events. I interviewed Jack for Patient Power in Barcelona in March 2015. He was speaking at a pharma conference (Eyeforpharma) to share his cancer journey with pharma marketing professionals. He was one of those exceptional people you meet sometimes when you do interviews. I admired his optimism and resilience. He didn’t have an easy life after his diagnosis. He took part in a great number of clinical trials as there wasn’t a specific treatment for his rare disease. But he managed to inspire many patients and healthcare professionals with his words: “Patients need to be their own advocate. Most cancer patients have ‘the car wash approach’. They are passive and follow orders. They should be more engaged and ask if there are any clinical trials available for them as most of the times you receive a much better care and you are monitored more closely.”
I am sure that many people have benefitted from Jack’s example and that he will be remembered as the great advocate and excellent person that he was.
Watch the interview: Jack Whelan: A journey with a rare blood cancer (Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia).