It is with great sorrow that we share that GISTer and LRG Board Member Eric Biegansky passed away yesterday, August 3rd, 2023.
For those who did not know Eric so well, he was a brilliant man, an incredible advocate and had such a positive yet practical outlook about his disease. He fought so hard and we send much love and strength to his family. – Sara Rothschild, Executive Director, The Life Raft Group
Before he passed, Sara shared with Jill Biegansky, Eric’s wife, that we will dedicate our next Pediatric & SDH-Deficient GIST Consortium meeting in September to him so that it is meaningful for all of us to come together to do better to improve patients’ lives. She shared the message with Eric, and it made him smile.
Eric joined the LRG Board in December of 2019 bringing a passion for supporting GIST patients and for finding a cure. Coupled with his extensive management consulting expertise and his direct experience as a GIST patient from the previous eleven years, he was an asset to our dedicated team. He dealt with multiple surgeries and moved through several treatment lines. Through it all, he never gave up.
Eric sometimes questioned his journey asking, “What is the point of all this? What can I do to contribute, even if it is in a small way? Should I share my own experience? How can I have an impact?”
One of the impactful ways Eric contributed to GIST research has been the donation of his tissue to Dr. Joshua Schiffman’s research project at Huntsman Cancer Institute. Dr. Schiffman presented Eric with an award when they met at ASCO several years ago. Eric spread the message to others about the importance of patients donating tissue as a small step that can lead to a cure by advancing research efforts. He was inspired by the work of our Pediatric & SDH-Deficient GIST Consortium, which made him more passionate about giving back.
Eric recognized other ways that he could help other GIST patients: becoming a GIST Mentor and sharing his experience and raising awareness & funds for research. His experience dealing with medications and their side effects proved valuable to other patients navigating their own path.
Throughout this challenging journey, Eric took immense pride in his children, Ryan and Emma, who were a constant source of joy and inspiration in his life. Moreover, he cherished his wife, Jill, whose unwavering support and strength were a source of comfort.
We join Jill, Ryan and Emma, in mourning this wonderful husband, father, friend, and advocate.