Monday, October 12, 2009

Fighting the Good Fight With Jay Gallagher

As Gannett's Albany Bureau Chief Battles Pancreatic Cancer, He Offers a Profile in Courage -- and Good Humor

I first met Jay Gallagher when I was a cub reporter for UPI in Albany, and he was the bureau chief for Gannett News Service. We both did time on the Legislative Correspondents Association softball team, and though I didn't know him well, he was always friendly and did a great job of keeping the follies that masqueraded as state government in perspective.
Later, we'd work a little more closely when I made a few trips a year to the capital as the state reporter for Gannett's Rockland Journal-News.
I haven't seen him in 20 years, but kept seeing his work, which wasalways solid, more-than-workmanlike.
I hadn't recalled seeing his byline recently, so when I had occasion to speak to a colleague in his office, I was floored by the news that Jay was diagnosed in June with pancreatic cancer. Apart from Osama bin Laden, it's the kind of news you never want to hear about anybody, let alone a former colleague, a good guy and great family man.
But as I have found out, Jay is someone disinclined to throw himself a pity party. Instead, he's devoted himself to beating considerable odds and, at least some of the time, blogging. It's good reading, and if it gets you to send a check to The Lustgarten Foundation, which is devoted to pancreatic cancer research, so much the better.
Like I did, you can give some money to the cause. And you can also send Jay some good thoughts and a spare prayer or three. Maybe those can help too.

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