I rarely talk about personal topics on my blog, but today, I’m writing to ask for your help, following the death of one of my oldest friends. Over the summer, Jeffrey B. White lost his battle with cancer at the age of 32. At the time of his passing, Jeff was a freelance journalist based in Berlin, Germany. His articles were published in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, The American Lawyer, LegalWeek, World Politics Review, PopMatters, the international edition of Der Spiegel, Gadling (AOL’s travel blog), the Patriot Ledger (where he was once a staff reporter), the Prague Post (where he was formerly a news Editor), and a variety of other noteworthy publications.
Jeff was an amazing guy – intelligent, witty, and he had a great sense of humor. I’d known him since I was three years old, and together with his younger brother, Greg, we grew up together on a series of memorable family vacations which started when Jeff’s dad was transferred from our home town in California to the east coast and ended all too quickly this summer. We managed to survive childhood, adolescence, Boston College and most of our 20s together before Jeff developed Eye Melanoma, a particularly rare and aggressive type of cancer.
On June 29, 2009, after a brave, three year fight, Jeff passed away. His death was tragic for everyone who knew him, and the timing was especially unfortunate, as Jeff had only just married the love of his life a few weeks before. Jeff married Nicki White (nee Zimmermann) on the afternoon of June 6, 2009 at the American Episcopal Church in Bonn, Germany, in front of 60 of their close family and friends. I was so happy to be a part of what was a wonderful celebration of Jeff and Nicki’s love and life together. We partied the night away at Bredershof restaurant in the neighboring town of Koenigswinter, with most of the attendees (including Jeff and Nicki) enjoying the party until 3:30am. Jeff lived his life to the end with courage, energy, optimism, and a sense of fun and adventure, and his wedding day was no exception.
I’m telling you about Jeff for a few reasons. First, I want to remind you that it’s important to get regular and comprehensive eye exams – even if you’ve got perfect vision. While eye melanoma is rare, it happens, and a regular eye exam (where your doctor dilates your eyes) can help discover it (and other eye problems) early.
Second, if you have been moved by Jeff’s story or his work (or you enjoy reading my blog), I want to let you know about a couple of ways that you can support two important causes in Jeff’s name…
A scholarship has just been started in Jeff’s name at his graduate school alma mater, Boston University. The Jeffrey B. White Memorial Fund in Journalism is established at the Boston University College of Communication in memory of Jeff, who received his Masters degree from BU in 2001.
The Fund is established as a tribute to Jeff’s life and work in journalism, and preference will be given to those College of Communication graduate students in the field of print journalism who are enrolled in the Washington D.C. Journalism Program.
Recipients of the Jeffrey White Fund award will be chosen by the Dean of the College of Communication along with the Chair of the Journalism Department and the Director of the College’s Washington D.C. Program.
Gifts can be made payable to the Jeffrey B. White Fund at Boston University and mailed to:
College of Communication
640 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
Please contact Steve Morin with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Boston University is a recognized 501 c 3 organization.
Please also consider making a donation in Jeff White’s name either to the Jeffrey B. White Fund at Boston University or to: Dr. Takami Sato’s Eye Melanoma Research Fund at Kimmel Cancer Center, who helped Jeff and his family during his brave fight:
Attn: Melissa Pizarro
Associate Director of Development, Kimmel Cancer Center
233 South 10th St., Suite 908
Philadelphia, PA 19107
To learn more about Jeff White and to read his work, please visit:
- Jeff’s website which features some of his work
- Jeff’s Flickr stream
- Jeff’s work at the Christian Science Monitor
- Jeff’s blog on Gadling (AOL’s travel blog)
- Listen to Jeff talk to Marcus Mabry, international business editor of The New York Times, from in Berlin about the German’s take on the 2008 International Banking Crisis.
- Jeff’s Obituary:
If you knew Jeff or enjoyed his writing, ping me with links to your favorite articles by or about him, and I’ll add them above.