It is with a heavy heart that I write to inform you of the passing of Alan Blaustein. Alan is one of the founders of International Thymic Malignancy Interest Group (ITMIG) and has passed away from his thymoma.
In 2005, Alan was diagnosed with a type B3 stage IV thymic carcinoma. His research brought him to the Foundation for Thymic Cancer Research, and Alan decided to become involved. In 2006, he organized the first ‘‘Stinky Ball’’ fundraising event in support of the Foundation. The title evolved from a name his then 3-year-old son gave to Alan’s tumor.
The success of the event lead to several more. With the proceeds, it was decided to tackle one of the Foundation’s major goals, to bring together an international interdisciplinary group of oncologists, surgeons, radiologists, and pathologists, to discuss issues, discover differences, and plan for the future.
Made possible with Alan’s fundraising events, three such meetings were held, including one co-sponsored by the National Institute for Health in Bethesda, Maryland. The enthusiasm shared at these workshops inspired the creation of ITMIG in 2009, again using funds derived from the Stinky Balls, with Alan being one of the three signers of the ITMIG founding documents.
The primary goal of ITMIG is and always had been to be dedicated to promoting the advancement of clinical and basic science pertaining to thymic malignancies and related conditions. It is the only academic organization that provides structure, organization and scientific rigor for related research to improve the outcomes for people with these diagnoses.
In addition to Alan’s fundraising, Alan had a keen sense of organization and a deep feeling for fellow patients and their needs. If it wasn’t for Alan’s efforts, ITMIG might have never have been formed. In memory of Alan he would like donations sent to ITMIG to help continue to support of the organizations efforts.
Pam Bruce, ITMIG Executive Director