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Remembering patient research advocate Doug Sparling

Doug Sparling

October 04, 2021

It is with great sadness that we share that Doug Sparling, a member of The University of Kansas Cancer Center's patient research advocacy group, Patient and Investigator Voices Organizing Together (PIVOT), recently passed away.

An author, artist, musician and technology guru, Doug ultimately found his calling as a cancer research advocate. In October 2017, Doug was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic prostate cancer. He joined PIVOT in December 2018 after attending the cancer center’s first PIVOT workshop. As a cancer research advocate, PIVOT gave Doug the opportunity to work alongside cancer researchers and to share his viewpoint from the eyes of a person living with cancer.

“Faced with an incurable cancer, Doug chose to spend his time working with our scientists to advance quality, patient-centered research,” said Roy Jensen, MD, vice chancellor and director of the cancer center. “We are forever grateful for his contributions.”

Doug used social media for good by fearlessly and regularly talking about cancer on his various platforms. He was genuine and open in everything he wrote about his cancer journey. His cancer diagnosis brought many gifts to Doug’s life – notably, his PIVOT friends who shared his passion for patient research advocacy and the countless friendships he developed online through documenting his cancer experience.

Known for cherishing each day, Doug is remembered by many of his PIVOT friends with special tributes:

  • “His smile and enthusiasm always reminded me that cancer has no victory, only our body wears out, but nothing can quench our spirit of love and friendships.” – Dinah Dutta
  • “Doug was always such a bright spark every time I saw him. I loved his zest for life.” – Kathy Benich
  • “It is a blessing that our hearts were touched by his love. He will be truly missed by all of us.” – Kris Darnell
  • “Even with all he was going through he remained so positive not just for himself but others.” – Jennie Mack
  • “Doug embraced every aspect of PIVOT and he contributed so much. His generosity of spirit, kindness, and being thankful everyday are a model for all facing cancer.” – Dr. Kim Kimminau
  • “Despite the pain he was enduring, Doug Sparling always found a way to participate in our work and add his invaluable insights to researchers.” – Cheryl Jernigan

Doug is incredibly missed by everyone whose life he touched. With gratitude for his many contributions to cancer research, we extend our sympathy to all who had the honor of knowing Doug.

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