Thursday, November 20, 2014

Remembering Pete Dalis

This disease stinks.  Putting it mildly.

Peter Dalis was UCLA's athletic director for almost 20 years.  I became friends with Pete when I joined Bel-Air Country Club a few years ago.  He was on the membership committee.  I learned at that time that he had just been diagnosed with smoldering myeloma.  I thought "well, there's at least one vote in my favor in the admissions process!"  :)

Pete was very loyal to UCLA, preferring to be treated there rather than going to see a world-leading MM specialist.  I'm not sure whether the diagnosis wasn't as accurate or if he simply had challenging MM from a cytogenetic perspective, but whatever the reason, his health deteriorated rapidly over the past few months.  He went from looking great to looking very frail.  He wasn't able to join me at a reception I held with the MMRF at Bel-Air as he was in the hospital; I saw him after that and he looked like a shadow of his former self.  The disease was obviously taking its toll.  He said that he had tried Revlimid and there were too many complications or it wasn't effective; he said he had similar issues with Velcade.

I had hoped that I would be able to get him in to see somebody with real insight into how to treat his particular disease -- but to my shock and sadness, I learned that Pete died this past Saturday.

I didn't know him as well as I'd have liked, but in my interactions he was a true gentleman.  A person of sincerity, warmth, and profound integrity.

His obituary from the LA Times mentions MM as the culprit.  A very sad story.  My thoughts are with his lovely wife and his family.  I had hoped we would celebrate our collective victory over this disease; instead, I am left with a tragic reminder of how important it is to be seen by a true specialist and to get in front of the disease before it gets on top of you.

I'll miss you, Pete.