Good bye to Jack Whelan

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).

4 thoughts on “Good bye to Jack Whelan”

  1. Teresa,

    Thank you very much for your kind words about my father. Ironically, I just googled my dads name for some foundation work our family will be looking to do and stumbled across your blog. I will sure to share it in honor of my father and the great American advocate he became. Please reach out if you ever visit Boston, MA.

    Regards,
    Laurie Gorecki
    Aka: Jacks oldest (and favorite) daughter

    1. Thank you, Laurie for your nice message. It was a real pleasure meeting your father in Barcelona and since then I’ve been following him on social media. He was a great guy and an inspiration for all the cancer community. Big hugs to you and all your family and friends.

      Teresa Bau, Communications Director at Patient Empowerment Foundation.

  2. Wonderful tribute for a Real Life Cancer Survivor! Jack was one in a zillion who fought back, took treatments to encourage so many and dedicated His time on earth to bring us to a level of survival like no one else I’ve ever known! A true Giver! Rest In Peace, Jack! You did so much for so many! God Bless You!

    1. Thanks for your wonderful message Joanne. We will all remember Jack as a great man and an amazing activist for cancer patients. Big hugs.

      Teresa Bau, Communications Director at Patient Emppowerment Foundation.

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