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Joan Cox Gill, M.D.  Remembering a Friend, a Mentor and a Brilliant Clinician

by: Danielle Leitner Baxter

On May 9, the bleeding disorders community lost a dear friend in Dr. Joan Cox Gill after a year-long battle with cancer. Throughout her struggle, Dr. Gill was always upbeat, keeping her sense of humor and tenacity. 

Joan was an inspiration for women, a brilliant hematologist and a true force! She embodied passion and truly cared for her patients. I am better for the time I spent with her and will take her jubilant laugh and knowledge with me as I continue advocating for families in the bleeding disorders community.

Dr. Gill worked closely with Great Lakes Hemophilia Foundation (GLHF) as our Regional Medical Consultant since 2011. She was a leader for our five-state region, chairing our Regional Executive Council while encouraging and strengthening scientific collaboration. Even in the face of her illness, she stayed in touch with me about our regional research projects  ensuring we were gathering data to improve the quality of life for patients with bleeding disorders.

In 2013, Dr. Gill began, in her words, the "process of retiring" which I joked with her just meant she was now working from home and spending more time with her dog, Gus. Though many of her patients were devastated to see her step away from her practice, she continued to advocate for them through her research.

GLHF honored Dr. Gill during our inaugural year of Camp Klotty Pine by giving our health lodge her name and making her a permanent part of camp. When campers infuse for the first time they receive the "Big Stick" Award. Our very first "Big Stick" Award was presented to Dr. Gill to honor the many children she supported throughout her career.

As I shared this sad news with colleagues and patients over the last week, I have heard so many heartwarming and funny stories reinforcing Joan as a strong and vibrant person. Through her passion for increasing both scientific understanding and quality of life, and her unwavering commitment to do what is right for the patient, no matter the obstacles of politics or bureaucracy, she has shown what an incredible difference one person can make to an entire community. Her keen intellect, fantastic storytelling, great sense of humor, and fabulous laugh, matched by her deep empathy and willingness to help, made her an incredible woman.

She will be missed by so many. 

Read Dr. Gill's full obituary.

 

Incredible Parents Infusing Huge Support for Their Sons and GLHF

Jessica and Stacie are the biggest advocates for their sons because they say that "being strong is their only option." For the fourth year, two sisters, Jessica and Stacie, have teamed up to raise awareness for bleeding disorders in the Madison, Wisconsin area by hosting an amazing event — Drive-In-Fusion. Balloon, face paint and caricature artists donate their time to entertain kids prior to the main event, which is a children's movie chosen by the boys.

While it's not exactly a drive-in movie, they make their point with this clever name. Proceeds from sponsorships, silent auctions, raffles, food sales and other individual cash contributions from their highly successful event have now exceeded $40,000! All have been donated to benefit the resources and support provided by GLHF. Jessica and Stacie are hopeful that in the not too distant future their sons, Dean (6) and Owen (2), who both have Hemophilia A, will benefit from advancements in research and treatment options.

Recently, Jessica and Stacie each shared moving accounts of administering their sons' infusion treatments, with the community members who support their event. If you read their stories, you'll learn that while it's a family affair, "it's not a walk in the park." Their parents and grandparents are continually amazed at the courage and strength of these little men as they receive their factor injections. GLHF is amazed and grateful for the courage in sharing their stories and for the generosity received from their caring circle of support on this journey. 

Find out more about Dean and read his full story.


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