Thursday, January 31, 2013

Cancer research has lost a true pioneer

Dr. John Robert Ohlfest
1977 - 2013
It is with great sadness that Sara and I pass along the news that Dr. John Ohlfest, the driving force behind the experimental treatment that saved Rilley's life, passed away on January 21st of melanoma; he was 35. It is through John's unwavering dedication and ground breaking research that advances in the treatment of brain tumours have been possible.

Having had the opportunity to communicate with John on several occasions and even to sit and have a discussion over lunch it became apparent that John was not only a brilliant mind, but a genuinely kind and down to earth person.  Despite his busy schedule, he took the time give us a tour of his lab and even to answer our daughters questions.  One of the best impressions we walked away with that day was his love for his family.  When he showed us his office, he just beamed with pride when he spoke of his family.

Needless to say, we were shocked to learn of his passing.  It is incredibly ironic that a man who dedicated his life to finding a cure for brain cancer lost his own battle with another form of this devastating disease.  We can only hope that his life's work continues on as the treatments he developed have already begun to help people and we would really like to see it prove to be a cure.  That would truly be a fitting tribute.

For more insight into the incredible life of Dr. Ohlfest, the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota issued the following press release which also contains a link to his obituary:

Our thoughts are with his family.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Front Page Rilley (Again)!

Rilley's fifteen minutes of fame has been extended a bit more.  Lisa Tallyn, the reporter who wrote Rilley's first newspaper article just over two years ago, has written a follow up article.  The story appeared on the front page of today's edition of the The Independent & Free Press here in Halton Hills.  Back in November, when I had written his two year anniversary blog post, I had sent Lisa an email to let her know that Rilley had been doing well.  That's when she had the idea to write a follow up and of course the girls couldn't pass up the opportunity to pose with their favourite, four legged friend.

Katherine and Elizabeth with their prized pooch!
Photo credit: Ted Brown, The Independent & Free Press

To read the article, it can be found by following this link:

An interesting thing just happened as I was about to publish this post.  A very nice girl called after having seen today's article.  She wanted to know if we would like to adopt a young beagle who needs a home.  Her friend had taken it in when its owner passed away.  To be honest, I'm actually sitting her hoping that I didn't come off as a jerk when I politely declined.  I told her that Rilley really would not do well with another dog in the house...he is a very solitary dog who doesn't always enjoy the company of other dogs.  He's not mean, quite the contrary, he is very lovable.  However, he seems to become depressed whenever there is another dog around and, while he is doing remarkable well, after everything he's been through we wouldn't feel right disrupting his routine with another dog right now.  So, caller, if you read this, we are truly very sorry that we could not help you and your friend out.