Forever we will all be asking the one word question, “Why?”.  Why would Marc or any other young person leave this world early rather than continue to touch peoples’ lives around him and serve out his full potential on earth? Why is the natural chain of events turned backwards and upside down?  The answer lies in medical words like serotonin, norepinephrine, melatonin, and monoamine oxidase.  You see, although it is hard for most of us to understand Marc’s decision, it really wasn’t his DECISION at all.  It’s easy for us, especially those of us in medicine, to understand elevated creatinine levels with kidney disease, high alkaline phosphatase in liver disease, or raised intraocular pressure in glaucoma, but we struggle to understand the biochemical complexity of the brain.  We have 2 kidneys, 2 eyes, and multiple liver lobes, but only one brain and one heart.  When our heart is broken, either physically or emotionally like it is right now, or our thinking is disrupted, either by emotional stress like it is right now or physically like it was for Marc, there is no back-up, second organ such as another eye or kidney.   I’d like to read a note sent to me after Marc’s passing:  “Its’ amazing how he infused himself into my life. He keeps popping up. This morning I was getting dressed and put on a race T-shirt under my pullover. I realized I have run that race with him. My key ring has a lanyard on it that he suggested I buy at the 1/2 marathon expo cause the lanyard I was using was filthy and nasty! The sticker on my truck for my first 13.1 (half marathon) ... he bought it for me months before I crossed the finish line. He refused to give it to me until we finished it together. He brought me home a gift from his Birth right trip that sits on my TV stand. He’s everywhere, reminders all over. I was saying the other day I needed new pans... that mine were old and needed to be retired. He tried giving me pans. He was amazingly generous. He went to Marathon sports a couple weeks ago. While he was there he saw a shirt he thought I would like, so he bought it for me.”   That note was written by Marc’s immediate supervisor, Pam, from Neurotech where Marc worked.  They had only known each other for one and a half years and you can hear how much of an impact Marc had on Pam with his warm and generous personality.  We in this room have 26 years worth of great memories and stories about Marc and we should celebrate those memories with each other in the coming hours, days, weeks, and months.  That’s what Marc would have wanted us to do.  We are ALL here for a finite amount of time and although this moment is most painful and difficult to understand, we need to remember those great times we had to share with Marc.   So, again, we ask “Why?”… Why? Because Marc was placed on this earth to touch every single one of us in this room.  He did that wonderfully, but similar to ANY serious medical disease that robs a young person of a full and natural life, he was taken from us much too soon.  We need to try to think about how lucky we were to have him in our lives.   Science and medicine tied the two of us together amongst an extended family of relatives and friends, mostly in the business world, and we also had a bond through fitness and specifically running road races.  I saw a lot of myself in Marc as we worked together at Neurotech and shared running training and racing stories.  So, with the help of my friends at the Narragansett Running Association and Neurotech, we plan to initiate a new running race in Marc’s honor to support brain chemistry research.  Details to follow so stay tuned!   Marc- I’ll always feel your presence at every starting line with your great big bear hug greetings and when I’m struggling for information and words to finish our upcoming publication on electroretinography, I know you’ll always be there to quickly Google us the correct answer!  Now, go be at peace forever while we keep the spirit of your warmth and generosity in all of us….forever.

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