Last September, BIO and the industry lost a dear friend and one of the nation’s top regulatory attorneys – Sandi Dennis – after a long battle with cancer.
Sandi served as the deputy general counsel for healthcare at BIO. She focused on educating biotechnology companies about emerging legal and policy issues affecting the development of ground-breaking new medicines, and advocating on their behalf with Congress and executive agencies to help expedite the approval of treatments for patients most in need.
Sandi was an inspiration to her friends, family and colleagues. She faced her cancer with a blend of passion, courage, humor, and grace. For Sandi, her diagnosis served as an opportunity to educate, inform, and inspire others fighting the disease. She documented her diagnoses, test results, treatments, and daily struggles in her blog, CancerDiva4Ever, where she mixed humor with her understanding of science and a deep appreciation of the beauty of life.
Through her blog, Sandi left behind her thoughts and a detailed account of her experiences being enrolled in a clinical trial during the last few months of her life. Below are a couple excerpts, in her own words.
June 11, 2013
“I realized I have to live both WITH AND BEYOND breast cancer. It is a part of me – a big part of me (after all, I write a blog about it). But cancer is not all of me. I am so much more: a mom, a wife, a sister, a friend, a lawyer, a colleague, a yogi (and many other names I have likely been called). I have so many things to enjoy and be excited about every day. My world includes cancer but it is bigger. And fuller. And richer. I will do my best to keep it that way – to really live, be alive, be present in all I do. And that, friends, is my beyond.”
June 20, 2013
“This clinical trial (unlike a flight of fancy that might lead to a bit of joyfulness) could lead to a significant advance in the treatment of breast cancer – not just for me, but for many other women. This is far more important than my own personal happiness – it is a matter of public health with far reaching ramifications. I am excited and delighted to be a part of it.”
During this week’s Convention, Sandi’s words hold special meaning as we come together to discuss how to deliver on the promise of the biotech industry through the development of breakthrough treatments and cures. Sandi will be dearly missed, and her words and contributions to the industry continue to be an inspiration for all of us at BIO.