Last month, the Ovarian Cancer Institute suffered a sudden, unexpected, and devastating loss. Ian Walker was our Chairman of the Board, our top fundraiser, and an integral part of all that we do. We asked Dr. Benedict Benigno, OCI’s founder and CEO, to say a few words about his long-time friend.
Ian Walker died suddenly last month, taking with him a large chunk of the Ovarian Cancer Institute that will not be easily replaced. His passion for our work was legendary, and he served as Chairman of the Board with passion, élan, and total dedication. He delighted in finding new board members and patrons and installed himself as our advocate with everyone he met, and in every imaginable situation.
I had known Ian for over 20 years and remember him as a wit, a gourmand, and above all, the very embodiment of style and grace. Our dinners together were memorable events, replete with good food and wine, as well as sparkling conversation and never-ending ways to see the humor, even in the banalest of situations. He never tired of urging John McDonald and me to achieve greater things at the Institute, and he was always looking into new ways to fund the work. I considered giving him a white lab coat and John a gene sequencing machine, neither of which he found amusing!
Stanley Kubrick admonished us in a famous interview – “No matter how vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.” Ian was our shining beacon, and I am not enjoying the darkness!
Our thoughts go out to his wife, Katie, his family, and his friends as they adjust to this new world. And as one of the many people whose lives he touched, both by his commitment to the fight against ovarian cancer, and by his leadership of the board, I am honored and grateful to have crossed paths with Ian Walker. May his memory live on in the work we do.