New Haven, Conn. (WTNH) - The diagnosis of a rare bone marrow cancer placed our Dr. Mel Goldstein on an uncertain and unchartered course.
He became the public face in the fight against cancer as he fought his own battle against multiple myeloma.
"I think it was very calming for people going about his work day after day," said Dr. Dennis Cooper. "It kind of gave them a role model, if he can do it, then at least I can always try to do it."
Dr. Cooper at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven was Mel's doctor.
It was to Mel's credit, he says, that Mel was one of the longest living multiple myeloma patients.
"In fact, he was the one who suggested to me to first put him on Thalidomide because he had been reading about some trials with Thalidomide," Dr. Cooper said. "He had a bad reaction to chemotherapy and he wet on Thalidomide and had a good response."
Mel's mission through the years was to help others following in his footsteps. Proceeds from his books and fundraisers established the Dr. Mel Goldstein Multiple Myeloma Research Fund at Yale Cancer Center.
"Dr. Cooper uses those funds as needed to conduct research, whether it be clinical trials, laboratory investigations, investigations in a clinical setting, whatever is required to move the dial on this disease closer to a cure," said Peter Lamothe at Yale's Cancer Center.
In recent months Mel also found comfort under the care of Connecticut Hospice .
"One of the things that me, us happy is to have someone come in here, have a sufficient success in terms of managing their symptoms to be able to regain independence living again and we got that done for him," said Dr. Joseph Andrews from Connecticut Hospice.
Like countless many, home care nurse Karen Scala was inspired by Mel's unselfish approach.
"He would show me letters of these little kids who were following him and he was following their progress and they would be sending him pictures," Scala said. "He was an inspiration for all the people he touched."
He is no longer with us to continue his fight, but as a fellow cancer patient pointed out, Dr. Mel's impact is no way lessened, instead likely made greater.
Funeral services for Dr. Mel will be held on Friday, Jan. 20 at 10:30 a.m. at the Robert E. Shure Funeral Home in New Haven.
Internment will follow at the Temple Beth Tikvah section of Beaverbrook Cemetary in Clinton.
The family asks that any contributions be sent to the Connecticut Hospice in Branford.
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