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Aug 19
2016

Jay Fishman, ALS advocate and Packard Center supporter loses battle with disease

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Jay Fishman, executive chairman of Travelers Insurance, ALS advocate and Packard Center supporter, died today after a battle with ALS.  Fishman was 63. 

Diagnosed with ALS in 2014, Fishman was spurred into action to end this disease for future generations through his investment in Answer ALS, the largest and most comprehensive precision medicine program in ALS.  The program was launched with a significant philanthropic commitment from the Fishman Family and other donors.  As a champion of the cause and of the project, it was Fishman’s vision and leadership that helped to attract other investors who shared a passion for solving the disease.

In May, Travelers Insurance employees participated in the Packard Center’s annual Fiesta 5K for ALS Research in honor of Jay Fishman.

Outside of the world of ALS, Jay Fishman was widely recognized as a well-respected CEO who ran one of the largest US corporations, the Travelers Insurance Companies. But within the ALS community, he was not just a strong advocate and proponent of the Packard Center's work, but had become a compassionate, kind, and articulate advocate for doing more to solve the disease and help patients today.

In March, the Packard Center presented Fishman with the Dr. John W. Griffin Innovator Award at its annual research symposium.  The award recognizes those who are willing to be bold in pursuit of big, ambitious ideas.  Fishman embodied that spirit.

Jay Fishman (left), Randy Fishman (center) and Jeff Rothstein (right) at the Packard Center’s annual research symposium. 

Fishman was not just a Packard Center donor, but also a tireless advocate, leader and a trusted advisor.  Jeff Rothstein, the Center’s founder and director, and Lora Clawson, director of clinical ALS services at Johns Hopkins, offered these reflections on their patient and friend: “Jay Fishman took the fact of his diagnosis and turned it into an opportunity to help others. His leadership and generosity has helped open revolutionary new paths and approaches to conquering this disease. He embraced and advocated ALS science and patient care equally. His passing will be deeply felt by all of us who knew him. Personally, we have lost a warm and special friend. But Jay's example - and the example of so many other patients - reminds us of why we must continue the work of science. To use Jay’s special language when approaching ALS, ‘We must lean in, and carry on.’ We know that is what Jay would have wanted us to do."

Watch Jay Fishman and Jeff Rothstein on the Charlie Rose Show: https://charlierose.com/videos/23366

Jay Fishman Steps Down as Travelers CEO: http://www.forbes.com/sites/nathanvardi/2015/11/30/how-jay-fishman-decided-to-step-down-as-travelers-ceo-today-and-battle-als/#d136228723ee

 

lead photo credit: www.courant.com

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