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David Perry

Book praises Roger Magowitz, Tempur-Pedic for cancer work

June 12, 2012

It turns out that the late Randy Pausch's brave fight against pancreatic cancer produced not one book, but two. And the new one pays tribute to Roger Magowitz and his crusade to defeat pancreatic cancer.

The first book was Pausch's best-selling "The Last Lecture," a poignant, compelling reflection on what matters in life. Randy Pausch shared those life lessons in a lecture hall and then in his book.

Now we get a look at that story from the vantage point of his wife and caregiver, Jai Pausch. She has embraced Randy's fight, bringing attention to the ravages wreaked by pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest types of cancer, but one that suffers from lack of research funds.

Jai's book is "Dream New Dreams. Reimagining My Life After Loss." In it she shares her decision to embark on a new life, one that takes "the broken pieces of my dreams from yesterday" and uses them "to create something new and beautiful that fits who I am today."

Pausch talks at length about her friendship with Roger Magowitz and about the Seena Magowitz Golf Classic that he started to remember his mother, who died of pancreatic cancer in 2001. "I am amazed at his success and determination, born of a desire to extinguish the disease that devastated his family when it took his mother's life," Pausch writes.

She praises Roger and his wife, Jeanne, for pledging $1 million to the Translational Genomics Research Institute, known as TGen. "They could have chosen to buy a retirement home in Florida and play golf every day, and felt they had done their part," Pausch writes. "Instead, they led by example and tangibly showed that ending pancreatic cancer and helping others was a priority in their lives."

She also singles out Tempur-Pedic for its Hugs Back campaign, which used teddy bears to raise $300,000 for pancreatic cancer research. Tempur-Pedic "used those squeezable, huggable bears to raise awareness about pancreatic cancer through its marketing, advertising and public relations," Pausch writes.

When I interviewed Jai Pausch at the Seena Magowitz Golf Classic in 2009, I thought her inspiring story and her caring, thoughtful nature would make for a good book.

It's great to see that book become a reality. "The Last Lecture" was not the last chapter in Jai's life. She has fashioned a new life, one in which she honors her past and yet looks to realize the new dreams of her future. Good for her.