In the fall of 2011, when Ethan Blum married his college sweetheart, Rebecca, his father was his best man at the wedding.
“I had always known he was going to be, because he was my best man every day of my life,” Ethan said. “He was my brother, role model, best friend…the guy I tried to emulate in every way.”
Jeff Blum was a 59-year-old pediatric dentist in suburban Philadelphia. A pillar of good health, he exercised multiple times a week, didn’t drink or smoke and had no family history of diabetes or cancer. He took care of himself and meant a lot to his family, friends, thousands of patients and countless peoples’ lives he touched along the way.
Ethan could not imagine a life without him, let alone him being suddenly taken away.
Jeff was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma, the most common form of pancreatic cancer, in May of 2012. Because there are no early detection methods, his diagnosis came out of nowhere. Just six months later, after unsuccessful surgery, he passed away at home.
“My life was cracked the day he was diagnosed, and it was broken the day he died,” Ethan said. “Nothing has been the same since, and in the four years since this all happened, the feelings and emotions are as vivid and terrorizing as ever. Life is more fragile than I could have ever imagined. It has been the greatest challenge and biggest tragedy of my family’s life.”
Ethan contacted the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network in the summer of 2012 after his father’s diagnosis and connected with people he could relate to. In 2013, Ethan became the Advocacy Chair for the New York City Affiliate of volunteers.
“Our goal is to make a change in the lives of families currently experiencing this awful disease. We demand progress! Advocacy, education, global awareness, scientific research – these are pillars that are vital to real change,” Ethan said.
Ethan continues to Wage Hope for his best man and is committed to transforming the experience of those affected by the disease.
“There’s nothing in it for me,” he said. “It’s about helping others. Everybody is in this cause for the right reasons. We care about this cause. My dad would be proud.”
Want to Wage Hope and volunteer like Ethan? Visit our website and get involved.