ASCO Remembers Cancer Research Advocate Patrick Gavin, RPh

December 3, 1949 – December 18, 2017


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I am alive today by the grace of God and because I was part of a cancer research clinical trial.
— Patrick Gavin, RPh

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ASCO and the oncology community mourn the loss of Patrick Gavin, RPh, who passed away on December 18, 2017, at age 68. A 10-year cancer survivor, Mr. Gavin was a dedicated advocate for patients with cancer and for cancer research.

Mr. Gavin was a pharmacist by training and spent much of his career at Meijer Inc, where he was vice president of pharmacy. He was a three-time chair of the Michigan Board of Pharmacy and heavily involved in pharmacy education and advisory bodies. After 33 years at Meijer, he retired to start a consulting business specializing in pharmacy operations, business strategy, and education. He served in the Michigan National Guard from 1968 to 1976.

Cancer Research and Patient Advocate

In 2007, Mr. Gavin embarked on a second career of advocacy after being treated for stage IV pharyngeal cancer and malignant melanoma. He brought the same tireless altruism and enthusiasm that had defined his pharmacy career to his new vocation as a cancer research and patient advocate. He was highly active on research-related committees in numerous local and national organizations, including ASCO, the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, the American Association for Cancer Research, the Van Andel Research Institute Stand Up 2 Cancer Epigenetics Research Dream Team, the National Cancer Institute, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, The Cancer Research Consortium of West Michigan, the Midwest Melanoma Partnership, and Gilda’s Club.

ASCO Member and Active Volunteer

An ASCO member since 2016, Mr. Gavin was an active volunteer in the Society at the time of his passing, serving on the Cancer Research Committee, the Research Community Forum Council, and the TAPUR Publications Committee. He previously served as the patient representative on the Neuropathy Clinical Practice Guideline Expert Panel, and participated in various ASCO stakeholder meetings including a recent roundtable addressing financial barriers to clinical trials.

Mr. Gavin was known to begin his talks by saying, “I am alive today by the grace of God and because I was part of a cancer research clinical trial.”

He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Mary Jane, four daughters, and eight grandchildren.

This tribute was originally published in ASCO Connection, December 20, 2017. © 2017 ASCO.


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