“The little lady who started the big war” –Abraham Lincoln described Harriet Beecher Stowe, hinting on the idea that as the author of Uncle Tom Cabin she created the idealistic foundation for the Civil War and the liberation of slaves. This is how we want to remember Rosemary Yancik, PhD while reflecting on her recent death. Rosemary was petite, but very conspicuous in spirit; she singlehandedly laid the foundation of Geriatric Oncology, a movement that now involves thousands of practitioners and has connected oncologists and geriatricians around the world. Friends for decades, we always cherished her welcoming smile, her enthusiasm, and her passion for foreign languages, as well as her openness to explore different cultures. In 1993 in Perugia Italy, after a conference on Breast Cancer in older women, she could hardly wait for visiting the Rocca Paolina, a renaissance fortress in Perugia glooming under the stars. In 1996 in Tampa, after the conference on cancer and aging, she allured the whole gathering of serious scientists into a wild dance on the boat crossing the Tampa Bay. She was a family woman who went to graduate school after her daughters had grown, who referred to her daughters as her best friends, a wife proud of her home and of her cuisine. Mostly she was a person of vision, one of those people who can see a light in the horizon when everybody else see a mist of dancing shadows. Her vision was multidimensional. She was among the first to realize that the epidemics pattern of cancer in the older adults in North America and Western Europe followed parallel lines, that cancer and aging was a worldwide problem and that the management of cancer in older adults needed to be multidisciplinary. During the combined National Cancer Institute-European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) conference in Venice she confessed that she was a sociologist surrounded by clinicians, and asserted the importance of the cooperation of medicine and sociological disciplines Beyond vision, she had a profound sense of mission, the idea that those who have a talent should use it for the good of others.
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Published online: June 03, 2020
☆This memorial was prepared by three friends and mentees of Dr. Rosemary Yancik.
© 2020 Published by Elsevier Ltd.