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Categorized | About Pat

A Special Tribute to an Incredible Friend

Posted on February 12 2016 by Pat Killingsworth | 7,241 views


I only met Pat twice, but I feel like I’ve known him forever. We shared a passion for our native state of Wisconsin. Last time the Badger football team got into the Rose Bowl, I invited Pat and Pattie to California so we could all go to the game together. They did and, despite losing to Stanford, we shared a memorable experience.

We also shared a disease.

Going to the game required a lot of walking from the parade to the car, from the car to the stadium. Pat was struggling, but he wasn’t complaining. He was smiling the whole time. He didn’t just tell us to feel good and keep smiling. He lived it.

Pat had many loves in his life. First, of course was his darling wife Pattie, whom he adored. She was with him through the best and worst of his battle with Multiple Myeloma.  No one should ever go through this alone. Pattie made sure he didn’t.  Right there you know he lived a full life.  Their life together was as full as any loving couple can share.

Pat loved his dog, Finnegan. He frequently wrote about the pleasures of walking Finnegan around the nearby beachfront. He loved coaching. He loved his doctors, his nurses, and anyone who helped him in his fight. He loved the Badgers and the Packers. This was not a small infatuation. Pat knew everything about their coaches, their recruiting class and their strategies. He reveled in their success.  I don’t think it was a mere coincidence this past year that the Badger basketball team to made it to the NCAA finals.  I think Pat willed it to happen. The team’s success allowed him to put his focus on Myeloma aside for a while and lifted his spirits immensely.

Clearly, he loved all of us. His daily postings on the general topic of Myeloma covered the latest advances in treating this aweful disease, general health advice to help fortify bodies against the fight, heroic stories of others who were afflicted with the disease (including mine) and his own courageous trials.Pat posted every day for years.  Seven days a week.  No matter how good or bad he was feeling. There were times when he admitted to being barely able to lift the lid on his laptop, but he still got out his daily post.  He knew we would worry about him if he missed a day.

Pat could be very technical or broadly general – whatever was needed to tell the story. He loved helping anyone who was touched by Multiple Myeloma. He traveled extensively to medical conferences, pharmaceutical company events and support groups.  He appeared on numerous panels, seemingly indefatigable, never turning down an opportunity to give service no matter how rotten he felt.

When people told Pat to slow down, he laughed and waived it off. He wrote books- important books with critical advice on how to understand this disease and manage the ceaseless treatments.  Then he gave his books away or donated the proceeds to the fight- the fight we all share, every single one of us whether we are afflicted or know someone who is, the must-finish fight against Myeloma.

PatBdayBallon2016Spirited to the end, Pat’s final post was ironically headlined “I’m Not Dead Yet.” In it he spoke of his failing health.  Then he showed a remarkable photo of the view of a river from the window of his hospital bed.  In this picturesque image he saw a silver lining.

Pat fought hard against the disease.  Guess what? He won! At the time of his passing, he was in remission. He was disease free.  Ironic, isn’t it?  I think he would have liked that.  He would have written about it.

I don’t know what Pat’s last words were, but if he had been able choose them, I think they would have been something on the order of “don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine.” Of course, his final words on the printed page were “Feel good and keep smiling.”

Whenever I think of Pat Killingsworth, that is exactly what I’ll do.

On Wisconsin!

Ed Wolfman

38 Comments For This Post

  1. Stephanie from Sydney Says:

    A wonderful tribute to a great man. Ed, you said everything that needed to be said. I hope to read more of your posts in future.

  2. Stephanie M Says:

    Thanks for sharing this tribute with us. Ironically, the last conversation I had with him was on Sunday after telling him to hang in there, his last e-mail back was I’ll be fine, no worries. Pat will be greatly missed, a true hero.

  3. craig Says:

    Pat will be missed. Unfortunately, no one can fill his remarkable shoes. I can’t remember a man’s passing that has affected me so much whom I have never even met. He worked endlessly to help myeloma sufferers. He knew every drug by its by it trade and generic names, what class the drug was in, and what it did. I can’t even remember my own handful of drugs that are saving my life. But everyone already knows how knowledgeable he was and eager to share.

    I’m heartbroken for you Pattie. Thank you for sharing him with us.

    Feel good and keep on smiling my friend

  4. Ralph Says:

    Go with God Pat..I’m glad I saved our emails and even last month you generously gave me advise..My condolences to Patty..RIP old friend..

  5. Linda (Kenilworth) Says:

    My heart is broken. Pat was the best and he gave and gave to all us until, literally, the very end. Thoughts and prayers to Pattie.

  6. nil Says:

    I pre-dated Pat at UW Madison by a few years, but I like to think we may have crossed paths, perhaps on some March 17 down at the BT (Badger Tavern) elbowing our way up to the bar for a dollar pitcher of green beer, with no idea what lay ahead.

    Pat clearly loved life, loved Pattie, and he loved the online community he created. It was a truly remarkable achievement, and he was uniquely suited for it. His courage and wit encouraged countless people at dark times in their lives. For me he will always be St. Patrick, the patron saint of myeloma patients.

    Well done Pat.

  7. Ellen Harris Says:

    Beautiful column and tributes to Pat. Even though we never met, I (like many of you), felt him to be a friend who gave selflessly to the myeloma community. He will be so missed. My deepest condolences to Pattie, who graciously shared her husband with us. Rest easy Pat. You were a wonderful human being.

  8. nancy roeser Says:

    the best tribute to a life well-lived is the grief and pain of his passing, but the gratitude for his being in our lives. RIP Pat and God’s strenth to Pattie

  9. Don Wright Says:

    Goodbye old friend. You were the best.

  10. Gary Petersen Says:

    I have been asked to provide an address for condolences. Condolences can be sent to the address listed on his post You can also sign up to attend Pat’s Memorial Beach Party. The last thing Pattie said to me is that we must follow thru with Pat’s Myeloma Beach Party to Honor and celebrate Pat’s life. Pat so much wanted to make the party an institution of hope for the myeloma patient community. I told her I will help in any way I can. Gary

    Pattie Killingworth
    1731 Philips Manor Rd
    Fernandina Beach, FL 32034

  11. Sheri Baker Says:

    Ed, what a nice tribute. Thank you for doing that. I enjoyed rooting for Wisconsin, just for you and Pat. We will all miss him so much. I’m still in shock this morning that he is really gone. Gary, thanks for all you did this week. Glad you were there for him and Pattie. Pat, we will all try to feel good and keep smiling, although it is very difficult at this moment.

  12. Greg Says:

    Thank you Ed. And thank you Gary for keeping us up to date. It can’t be easy for you. Please let us know about any upcoming plans for a memorial service.

    Wishing Pattie all the strength she will need to get through this difficult time.

  13. frank Says:

    Nice note Ed.

    Vince Lombardi used to tell his players that, ‘fatigue makes cowards of us all.’ Not Pat. After my 2012 sct, I crashed and slept no matter who was visiting or what event was on deck. I gave in to that level of fatigue, a level that Pat challenged and crashed though every day. I would not have wanted to be on the other side of a hit by Pat on the football field.

    Another of Lombardi’s aphorisms to his ball carriers was ‘run with reckless abandon.’That was Pat’s M.O. every day.

    I did not comment often but I read Pat’s posts every day. My prayers are with Patti for the overwhelming loss of this excellent man.

  14. Bob M Says:

    Wonderful piece on Pat’s life. I don’t think I have ever been more emotionally connected with someone that I haven’t met in person before. Pat conveyed his spirit and caring so effectively, and shared so much of his feelings in his daily writings that each of us felt completely connected to him, his life, and his struggle with this damn disease.

    It is staggering to think of the void he leaves behind. It speaks to Pat’s generosity and commitment to helping others.

    Patti, my sincere condolences for your loss. My prayers go to you.

  15. Anne Says:

    Ed, what a wonderful tribute to Pat and Pattie. I, too, feel such a loss tho Pat and I never met.

    Gary – should condolences be on the 2015 sign up page or 2016 sign up page?

    Pattie – if at all possible, I’ll be there for the beach party. We are holding you in our hearts and prayers. Here’s a short piece by the poet Mary Oliver which I hope provides a little comfort in the days and weeks to come. To live in this world, you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.

    With deepest sympathy, Anne

  16. Gary Petersen Says:

    Anne, send cards and letters of sympathy to the following address

    Pattie Killingworth
    1731 Philips Manor Rd
    Fernandina Beach, FL 32034

  17. Andrea Says:

    I read your posts everyday and I felt your strength and optimism.
    After my mother’s diagnosis, your words, your knowledge and your vitality made me feel encouraged. I am very thankful to you Pat.
    I am thinking in you and Pattie.

  18. Jeannie Says:

    What an incredibly beautiful tribute Ed, and thanks to Gary for your posts. I too read Pat’s posts every day, although rarely commented. I’ve been a mess this entire past week. Deepest condolences to you, Pattie. I am holding you in strength and love. I will never forget Pat’s selfless spirit and towering generosity. “There goes my hero….watch him as he goes….” -Foo Fighters

  19. Ed Wolfman Says:

    If you haven’t seen it yet, here is the tribute to Pat from the Myeloma Beacon. Very well done….

  20. Mason LaMarche Says:

    Pat is the reason behind me going into medicine. I knew him for a total of 10 days, and his passion for life was evident in that short time frame. He was kind, supportive, and of course a fun person. I will never forget him; I can never forget him. Thank you Pat. On Wisconsin! Love, ML

  21. Laura Says:

    Thank your for the beautiful tribute. I am so saddened to hear the news. Pat reached out to me when I was first diagnosed with smoldering MM. He was so encouraging and supportive. I have learned so much by following his journey. My condolences to Pattie and the entire MM community. We have lost a true hero.

  22. John Herbst Says:

    Pat – you are missed by more people than you could every imagine. You touched so many lives. Personally, you were my daily read. If Pat’s good, then we all most be. He was my anchor. Our community has lost someone very special. My thoughts and prays are with you Pattie.

  23. Lileng Says:

    I have followed Pat’s blog daily, I have not met him but I called him my “friend” He was just that to everyone in the online myeloma community. Sure he posted lots about the drugs, what to, how to but it was the personal encouragement and cheer that he was really good at. He always gave hope and from his life, he fought to the end, he was brave and courageous. Thankfully he did not suffer for long. There are enough photos to see through his smiling eyes, there was a kindly soul. Whatever he information or news he had, he shared generously , he wanted to do good to many people .
    I will miss him, (Along with him, those dear ones who have blessed us with their lives – Mike Katz, Boogie Barb…someone who crocheted and knitted..can’t remember her name…their memories lived on)

  24. Nancy Says:

    Great loss to myeloma family . I used to wait for his blogs . I feel devastated. Though I never met him but I felt a connect . When my hubby was dx it was patt’s blog which gave me strength and insight to fight . I feel empty . Who will fill the vacuum of his blogs . He was always full of life and made us to understand complicities of myeloma in easy way. Patt I miss you badly. You went away so soon.

    Nancy from India

  25. David Says:

    This is Allo David from Tampa that Pat would highlight from time to time. Great tribute. I had not thought about the blessing of Pat beating MM with his CR status. Take that Cancer! I am heartbroken and lost. Like all of us, when I was first diagnosed, I was in shock. Doctors gave me their clinically complex and legally sanitized information. The internet was just cold information and the voices of people I could not trust. Pat was the first person I found to help ground me and help me face my disease. Pat indirectly with his blog, then directly with his emails and calls helped me face the biggest challenge in my life and the hardest decisions (to SCT or not, then to Allo or not) in a way no one could. I lost a friend, a part of my team, my coach, my guide, a pillar in my support system. His life and death did remind me to commit some of my time to pick up the baton from him and help the rest of the community in any way I can.

  26. Letty Baldwin Says:

    My sincere condolences. In my haste I responded to Pat’s previous post. This is a devasting, heart breaking loss. He has been such a tremendous support to many through our struggles. I feel so sad.

  27. Ron Harvot Says:

    Pattie my deep condolences, Pat was trail blazer and the greatest Myeloma patient advocate I have ever known.

  28. Irene S Says:

    Another tribute to Pat:

  29. Nick Says:

    Ed –

    Thank you for a beautiful tribute to our friend.

    Pat was one of my closest “Myeloma” friends and we shared so many of our hopes and fears together over the years, participated on panels together, argued like brothers and loved each other for it.

    I have struggled with what to say — so thank you for saying this so eloquently, Ed.

    Pat was a tremendous gift to the MM community and a remarkable human being. I will miss my friend so very much.

  30. Paul Jorgensen Says:

    I am always struck with how one person can impact the lives of so man people. Pat was an example of how one person impacted my life and the lives of so many other people. My heart goes out to Pattie and his extended family at this time of grief.

  31. margareta emnegard Says:

    Have followed Pat´s blog continuelly as I am also diagnosted by MM since 2010. Have learned a lot by reading Pat´s blog. Also have had personal contact with him by mail, he encouraged me and gave hope to all of us.

  32. Marilyn Smith Says:

    Thank you Ed and Gary. You are great friends to the greatest man I have ever known. Please let us know about any memorial service. I feel just lost without being able to go to him with questions. I feel for Patty as she must really feel lost. This is just too sad.

  33. David Says:

    Thank you Pattie for sharing pat with us! He was a remarkable person, and really gave me hope for my mom! He was the true definition of a hero. Not only did he help others when he was sick he also fought till the very end! He really showed us you can conquer this disease because he did conquer it, he was in a CR! Pat really helped me through medical school, with my mom sick it was really hard on me. Between school and worrying about my mom, he gave me comfort when I was down. I talked to pat recently and even when he was going through all he was going through he still offered help and support by giving me his phone number to contact him if I needed help.

  34. JustinS Says:

    Well, it’s Tuesday morning (company holiday yesterday) and so I did my normal routine at the start of a new work week. Grabbed a cup of coffee and logged onto my normal sites to see what I missed over the weekend. As I clicked the bookmark for this page (it’s one of the 8-10 on my hotbar) I instantly was overtaken by profound sadness. In my sleepy haze I was on autopilot and not remembering when I heard the news last week on a similar casual trip to the blog.

    There wasn’t going to be a new post I hadn’t yet read. There wasn’t going to be a spirited (or critical) update on the newest therapy. There was just the same last post, now sadly ironic “I’m not dead yet!” to ponder life’s many questions. But in the spirit of this blog I have to honor Pat in the best way I know how; end on an upbeat note (even when I don’t want to). A quote I came across awhile back I believe summed Pat up to those of us that only knew him through his writing/emails:

    “Your life is made up of two dates and a dash. Make the most of the dash”.

    You did Pat, you certainly did.

  35. Danny Parker Says:


    When something is missing I think we can really feel it.

    Pat was a wonderful friend over the years and we confided in each other often, particular about what I’ll call “the sharp end.” He was a pragmatist and hardly a Pollyanna. I live there too.

    I won’t reveal his most candid thought here– which I don’t think appropriate, but suffice to say myeloma remains a struggle.

    But Pat was a fighter and at end sought a knock-out punch. Yet, much like a boxer, there is a price to be paid. In the last weeks, as you can even see here, I suggested he pull back as there signs of body damage.

    But with this ailment, we each make our own way and must respect the decisions made by each patient.

    For now, however, my thoughts are with Pattie and his extended family. But my caring wishes are also with the myeloma community too. Pat was tireless in his dedication to addressing this cancer and that gap now is very, very visible.

    Even so, I feel his energies are still out here circulating as you can see by those who still post.

    Fair winds my good friend. Thank you.

  36. Rachel banks Says:

    Pat, you changed so many lives, gave so many hope, and personalised the story of a survivor so widely. Thank you for sharing your joys and struggles with us. I am heartbroken, all the way from Sydney . Pattie, I hope in the days ahead your memories of pat will buoy and support you.

  37. Nancy Shamanna Says:

    This was such depressing news about Pat, and he will be sorely missed by all of us who read his blog, his MB column and had emails from him too. I can only wish that he is ‘Over the Sea to Skye’, onwards to his next home. That song is a highland lament and played for sad occasions such as this. Pattie, hugs to you.

  38. Berit Says:

    I keep checking this blog, even though I know Pat will never write again. He is missed.

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