Family Creates Foundation in Honor of Beloved Husband, Son and Brother
Topic: Announcement, Hide on Homepage, Your Source for Breaking News & Inspirational Stories
“You better get your affairs in order…you only have six months to live.“
These crushing words were the start of Geoff’s pancreatic cancer journey. The diagnosis was Stage IV—which was incomprehensible to this athletic 34-year-old. But Geoff found hope grounded in the love of family—including his newborn son, Emery—and the determination of the oncologist committed to his treatment.
“His caring nature and spirit of adventure never diminished,” shared Julie, Geoff’s wife. “He had a special gift—always the life of the party, Geoff also made you feel like you were the only person in the room.”
Geoff’s sister Kristin—a nurse anesthetist who had cared for pancreatic cancer patients—knew the road ahead would be tough. “My brother put on a brave face and he was always fighting for more time with his family,” Kristin said. “He was the best big brother in the world.”
She understood how overwhelming the challenges facing her brother were. The late diagnosis ruled out surgery—and the disease had already spread to his liver. Geoff’s zest for living and devotion to family kept him going despite the bad news.
When chemotherapy failed, Geoff joined a clinical trial testing an oral immunotherapy.
Treatment began by breaking down the outer layer of the tumor. “Geoff felt better and we started to get back our lives,” said Julie.
Geoff and Julie had five good months together until the treatment stopped working and Geoff tried another chemotherapy. While he received infusions, he created beautiful drawings. But then he suffered a devastating setback—a stroke. He lost the ability to speak and move his right side. In a remarkable show of determination, he fought back to regain the ability to talk and walk.
Sadly, Geoff died six weeks before his 36th birthday. Julie, Kristin and all of his family took solace in the time they had together—eight more precious months than predicted, thanks to significant research advancements.
To honor his life and remember his spirit, Geoff’s family created Fight Cancer Stay Positive, a foundation that—in its inaugural fundraising event—raised $100,000 for the Lustgarten Foundation! On August 27, Fight Cancer Stay Positive will host “Dunk for a Cure” at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery – West Creek in Richmond, Virginia. Register today!
One of the things that matters most to Julie and Geoff’s family now is helping other families on their own pancreatic cancer journeys. “Fight Cancer Stay Positive” was Geoff’s mantra— it was the unbreakable spirit he brought to all he went through, and the belief that enabled Geoff and Julie to plan for their future despite his diagnosis. So, it’s the fitting name they’ve given to their work to honor and remember him.
Despite her tremendous loss, Julie feels lucky Geoff received the best possible care. For her, Geoff lives on in their son, in their story and in the research the Lustgarten Foundation supports.