It’s really difficult to express your feelings when you’re discussing a friend that’s passed away. First of all there are still times where you reach for your phone to text them. Only to remember there’s no one on the other side (tough loss for your Jets buddy). Secondly it’s hard to put into words the level of respect and pride you might feel for how hard they fought.
George, GJ, Geej passed away a little over a month ago. He was a great friend, a pledgemate, a frequent host to this knucklehead in college. He always had my back. He saved my tail more than once from some poor decision making. No matter what I did or who I pissed off he had my back. Sadly, after college, distance made it difficult to spend real time together. But whenever we had a chance to spend time together he would always make time. Friends like that don’t grow on trees.
George battled with glioblastoma a grade IV and incredibly aggressive form of brain cancer. While GBM does not spread through the body to date there is no cure. Only 5% of patients have survived more than 5 years after their diagnosis. Average life expectancy is 10 to 15 months. The only major treatment options are surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. There are new treatments that have been researched in clinical trials over the past 30 years. Those trials they have only increased life expectancy by 3 months.
While this feels like an insurmountable challenge. There are people out there throwing their hats into the ring, taping in for the fight, sharpening the sword for the long haul. George and his brother founded the non-profit StacheStrong in order to raise awareness and funds for GBM research. Founded in 2017 StacheStrong has helped put GBM on the map in the only way the Gerners know how. Through the support of their family and friends StacheStrong has raised over $200,000, hosted fundraiser events, sold over 3,000 t-shirts, held 5ks, even had teams in both the Chicago and New York City Marathons.
To honor George and support my friends at StacheStrong I am participating in No Shave November the StacheStrong way. I will be raising funds and awareness as I grow the meanest ‘Stache I can. I’m no Ron Swanson (or George, dude could grow facial hair) but the support of my friends and family will for sure overshadow my beard-bilities. Please consider donating in support of the George!! Biggest donor gets to shave it off on December 1st!