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Jack Whelan – Author, Lecturer, Research Advocate, Cancer Warrior & Survivor, ePatient, Clinical Trials

Jack Blowing his own hornBook publishers, speaker’s bureaus and social media experts say, “Jack, you have to blow your own horn”. if you want to help fellow patients and caregivers, and life sciences companies including biotech and pharmaceutical firms.  “After all, yours is a very motivational, gripping story.  You should have some fun with it too”. Although I’m not completely comfortable doing this, let the horn blowing begin.

To download or print an Adobe .pdf of Jack’s biography, please click.

Jack Whelan – shorter version bio – Event Speaker Introduction

Jack Whelan is a 10 yr survivor of rare, incurable blood cancer and now an aggressive metastatic prostate cancer moving from a career IT Research Analyst to Research Advocate.   Travel by Jack on an intensely personal and oft-humorous bumpy ride on the road to Personalized Medicine still under construction while he is treated for rare, incurable blood cancer.   Learn why Jack, not much of beer drinker himself hangs a bottle of Guinness on his chemo infusion rack and speaker’s podium.      Using business communications and research skills from his career as a Wall Street Research Analyst in Information Technology (IT) and career Sales VP in IT, he now helps bridge the communications gap between life sciences, medical professionals and patients as a Patient Advocate, Research Advocate, and Legislative Advocate.

Jack hopes all of us appreciate the value and noble work of life sciences employees and companies involved in cancer research and care.  A decided friend to BioPharma as an engaged, informed e-Patient Opinion Leader (POL) and advocate he regularly speaks to and for these companies, to open much-needed, lines of communications with patients, providers, and policymakers.

He encourages all patients to explore novel targeting agents many of which are now in Clinical Trials.  Using genetic and genomic information to develop new disease-specific targeted therapeutics that might be safer and more effective treatment than conventional chemotherapy.  Jack’s a frequent speaker and participant in the best industry and advocacy conferences in the Americas and Europe sharing his engaging, gripping, hopeful and fun story about survival.

Jack understands the realities of his blood cancer and metastatic prostate cancer as he has repeatedly relapsed and has been refractory to most of the therapies received thus far; however, his goal is repeated periods of progression-free survival during which the promise of science and delivery of successful therapeutics will be achieved.

Jack getting chemo with a Guinness

Just for fun, see the bottle of Guinness on Jack’s infusion rack.  This prop frequently brought some humor to the hard-working oncology nurses and aides and some fearful patients in the infusion room at DFCI.  Jack, that Guinness guy.

More details:  Longer version of bio for more info about Jack’s work in Patient, Research and Legislative Advocacy and Event Speaking.

Jack Whelan is a 10 yr survivor of a rare, not-yet-curable blood cancer moving from a career IT Research Analyst to Research Advocate.  In Advocacy, he’s active with AACR, ASCO, DIA, LLS, RDLA, NORD, NIH’s NCTN, ACRES and others and a frequent speaker and participant in Life Sciences conferences.

He lives in Andover MA with his wife Jan, has three ‘fabulous’ daughters and sons-in-law and proud grandparents of four twin-grandchildren including twin granddaughters and twin boy and girl another granddaughter and recently a grandson.  Diagnosed in early 2007 with an active Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia, a rare lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma for which there is no cure yet, Jack has participated in six Clinical Trials at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, (DFCI) in Boston, MA, and Londonderry, NH.  He is also treated at Brigham & Women’s Hospital (BWH) in Boston, Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and Zentralklinik in Bad Berka Germany.

Jack’s message to patients is to explore novel targeting molecular agents available in Clinical Trials; when coupled with genetic and genomic information and diagnostics these could be safer and more effective than conventional chemotherapy.

He’s an active volunteer with the International Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia Foundation (IWMF) charitable advocacy that provides patient education, support, and funds research.  He helps IWMF with fundraising; he was IWMF’s New England Support Group Leader for patients and caregivers and a keynote speaker at IWMF’s Annual Educational Patient-Physician Forum.

Jack Whelan Speaking to a small group

He’s active with Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) as speaker recruiting for LLS’ Team in Training and Lights the Night, a First Connection patient advocate and he’s presented at local LLS’ support groups.  He received the LLS’ 2014 Quality of Life Award and 2016 1st Annual Dr. Anthony D. Cortese Volunteer Appreciation Award.   As a Legislative Advocate with LLS, Jack helped convince state lawmakers to pass the much-needed Oral Chemotherapy Parity bill, by participating in lobbying efforts at the statehouse, writing stories for print and broadcast press, and conducted email and phone call campaigns to help educate lawmakers.    He is also a champion for new legislation centered on biosimilar clarification, Step Therapy, and Specialty Tiers bills. He’s a strong proponent of the current 21st Century Cures Act which represents a major step forward in legislative and policy upgrades to be more in line with modern medicines, research and clinical trials, patient access to their medical data and for additional rational funding for biomedical research.

For the past several years, Jack has been a fundraiser and volunteer spokesman on radio and TV with the Jimmy Fund and Boston Red Sox for the benefit of Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI).   More recently he is featured in a national TV commercial about his treatment at DFCI.  Jack is a former Co-chairman of DFCI’s Patient Family Advisory Council (PFAC).  He served on the Institute’s Patient Advisory Committee on the Epic Electronic Medical Record system.

He’s an associate member of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).  He received the AACR Distinguished Public Service Award in 2017, completed the 2013 and 2014 Scientist-Survivor Programs and Science of Cancer Disparities in Research program, featured cover story of AACR’s Cancer Today Magazine, the AACR Annual Cancer Progress Report of 2014 and appears in one of AACR’s national network TV fundraising commercials. He’s a member of AACR’s Cancer Today Magazine Editorial Advisory Board. He serves on the judging panel for The AACR June L. Biedler for Cancer Journalism.

He was a speaker at AACR’s 2015 and 2017 Annual Meeting. As a strong proponent of rational funding for biomedical research and to convince Congress to make this a national priority he participated in his third AACR-led Rally for Medical Research this Sept ’15.  Jack has been an event speaker for and is a strong supporter of the AACR Foundation.  Jack is interviewed and his family is featured his family in the video series About Clinical Trials sponsored by American Cancer Society (ACS) and Genentech.

He is also active with the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and completed the Research Advocacy Network Focus on Research Scholars in conjunction with the ASCO 2013 Conference and ASCO’s Patient Advocacy Education Program in 2015 and 2016. He serves on ASCO’s Patient Advisory Committee advising and promoting ASCO’s CancerLinQ Electronic Medical Record development programs. He also completed the Drug Information Association (DIA) Patient Advocate Fellowship Program in 2013 and produced educational videos for DIA.   Volunteering with the Rare Disease Legislative Advocacy (RDLA) and National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) he helps educate Federal lawmakers about much-needed legislation that encourages more effective, efficient and up-to-date healthcare policies.  Engaging the BioTech and Pharmaceutical Industry Jack is Co-Chair of the Research Advocacy Council of the Alliance for Clinical Research Excellence and Safety (ACRES) and serves as Patient Research Advocate with TransCelerate.

Jack serves on two Patient Advisory Committees (Lymphoma and Genitourinary (GU) on the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology, vocal, engaged patient advocacy groups within NCI’s National Clinical Trials Network (NCTN) Alliance.

As a career IT Research Analyst, Jack understands the value and noble work of Life Science enterprises involved in cancer research and care.  A decided friend to biotech and the pharmaceutical industry, as an engaged, informed advocate he regularly speaks directly to and for these companies, to open much needed, new lines of communications with patients.   Jack was one of four patients whose story was featured at Genentech’s  Volunteer Give Back Day ’14  on stage for an audience of 20,000 and for Pfizer’s Value of Medicine ad campaign.

Recently diagnosed with and now in treatment for an aggressive form of Metastatic Prostate Cancer, in an effort to learn more about this second incurable cancer, Jack is a member of the Massachusetts Prostate Cancer Coalition and Prostate Advocates Aiding Choices in Treatments (PAACT).

Described as “a one-man band with a loud drum to engage and motivate others”, with a busy 2017 calendar while still in treatment you may find Jack speaking at advocacy, healthcare, medical education and Life Sciences professional events around the United States and Europe.  Jack is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island and United States Navy veteran.  His website is Jack-Whelan.com  His story is featured in the AACR Q4 issue of Cancer Today Magazine, the AACR Cancer Progress Report 2014Pharmaphorum, and eyeforpharma.