A Letter from Jamie Corder, CCC Executive Director [In Memory of Allan Goldberg]

On June 22, my old boss and friend Allan Goldberg passed away from complications due to cancer.

It has taken me three hours to write that sentence, and I still cannot come up with the right words to tell this story. I am sure that Allan would laugh if he saw me writing and rewriting this now, he always knew that the story you want never goes as planned, but the ending is always okay.

It was this unwavering faith in a good ending that defined Allan’s outlook on life.   He was the eternal optimist, the person who would never take “no” for an answer.  If told to find another way, he did. As he told me once, “Remember that obstacles that seem insurmountable now are often not.”  To his core, he was a survivor. It was that he was proud of most.

I spent countless hours with Allan, running First Descents for two years from a small office that had a concrete floor and a temperamental fax machine that teetered on an empty cardboard box. There wasn’t time to take a break, but he always insisted on us eating lunch, and in between paddles and stacks of applications, Allan and I would eat deli sandwiches, (he would sip on his sworn last diet coke), and we would talk about the future of First Descents.

We envisioned the day that First Descents would become a household name.  When that day came he said, we would have a microwave and real plates and forks, but then decided that would be a bad idea because someone would have to wash them. I made an advanced request for a secretary (for him).

But what truly excited Allan was the belief that one day, First Descents would be big enough to help every young adult cancer survivor that knocked at its doors.  “Eight camps in ’08,” he would say. In perfect Allan form, this summer First Descents is holding nine.

It was on June 22, the first day of these nine camps that Allan passed away. In these next nine weeks, First Descents will forever change the lives of the 150 young adult cancer survivors that come to its camps.

Congratulations AMG.  Another happy ending.