Thursday, December 13, 2012

Randy Shirley: Another CLL Warrior Passes

I had hope to post the good news on GS-1101 from ASH 2012, but life and death have a way of intervening. I will get back to my sharing of the science tomorrow, but my blog has always also been about the journey, the wins and the losses. And sometimes I need to share the bad news too. Sometimes I need to mourn the loss of a friend. Randy Shirley, a fellow CLL battler, passed away yesterday at the age of 55.

Randy Shirley

From my friend Nancy O'Brien Simpson:

Randy Shirley has my kind of leukemia which is currently considered incurable. He was diagnosed October of 2009. Married to his best friend, Debbie, for 33 years with three daughters. He was an awesome poster on my FB leukemia support group. So happy, and brave, and cool! He was young and relatively healthy when he volunteered for a clinical trial (ABT-199). He unexpectedly passed away this morning. Devastating news. The volunteers in the clinical trials pave the way for the rest of us. Sometimes with their very lives. RIP Randy Shirley and thank you. Your presence will be missed so very much.

From me:

was blindsided by the sudden death of this brave and good man. So sad to lose another CLL warrior. Rest in peace, Randy. The memory of your hope and generosity is a blessing to all of us who were lucky enough to know you. My deepest condolences to his family and friends.

From my friend, Pat Kennedy:

The CLL community has lost a great warrior. Like everyone else I was blindsided by this news. Randy was participating in a clinical trial and had just posted yesterday about how well he was doing. His motto, which you know if you knew Randy, was "Never,Ever Give Up!" and he never did, right to the end. RIP Randy!

From another person in the same trial:

I am not sure you are aware yet but Randy Shirley has passed away.  I just met him and his wife on Monday when I was in Seattle for my monthly blood draw at SCCA.  He said he felt better than he had in years. He was on 300 mg of the drug at the time.  Tuesday AM he began taking 1200 mg of ABT-199.  Sometime on Wednesday he passed away.  I contacted the clinical trial coordinator and they are completely shocked and do not have any information that they are releasing at this point.  So no details.  I am stunned with this news but I know you and Randy have been in contact and he spoke to me Monday about how helpful you had been to him.  Thought you would want to know.  I am lost for words.

Randy and I were in regular contact. He was so upbeat about his trial and his disease. It is way too premature to draw any conclusion about the cause of his death or its possible relationship to the trial drug ABT-199. We know nothing about what led to his unexpected demise. Believe me that in these tragic cases, there will be careful probing into what happened and what can be learned. Believe me that nothing will be swept under the carpet. Trials don't work like that. If there is an issue, it will be outed. The safety profile has been excellent for many others and I would still recommend this drug.

But first I need to mourn the loss of another friend.

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Blogger momr said...

Thanks Brian!

December 13, 2012 at 8:50 PM  
Anonymous Deb Light said...

Randy was an Inspiration to all who knew him.I was so saddened to learn of his death.Our loss is Heaven's gain.Prayers for his wife Debi and their three daughters and their families.Also for all his many friends and fellow CLLers.
God Bless,
Deb Light

December 14, 2012 at 4:57 PM  

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