Many of us probably know one of the estimated 1.4 million people in the US who is living with, or in remission from a blood cancer, or one of the approximately 176,000 people who will be diagnosed with a blood cancer this year. Those of us who have lived this story already know how difficult it can be, and how important support from family, friends, and co-workers is. But where can you turn to for support, or how can you support someone battling a blood cancer?
Some of the answers to those questions are what has led us at The Rob Branham Foundation to begin our new feature - Blood Cancer Connections. Through posts, we aim to help people connect to support through a variety of different avenues, whether you’re a patient, family member, or friend needing support, or you’re looking to give support to someone.
He was like a bolt of lightning surrounded by a ray of sunlight. His infectious grin, twinkling eyes and warm personality were magnetic. Filled with endless energy, his friends lovingly called him “Mr. Positive.” Once you met him...you could never forget him.
Rob was raised in Stamford, and lived the last 17 years of his life in Simsbury. He was an avid runner and water skier, loved music, and collected antique radios and televisions. He began his broadcasting career in high school, and worked at leading radio and television stations throughout Connecticut. Rob’s honesty and integrity built him a reputation as a hard-working, well-respected salesman.
He proudly worked for 10 years as a volunteer reader for the blind on the Connecticut Radio Information System (CRIS). He also participated in various fundraisers sponsored by Fidelco, the Advertising Club of CT, and the Leukemia Society.
Rob’s international search for a non-related marrow donor sparked great interest in and compassion for other people stricken with leukemia who were not as fortunate to find donors. He made a pledge to himself that, after his recovery, he would actively work to recruit potential bone marrow donors, especially for minority populations.
Rob was diagnosed with leukemia in January 1992. After a year and a half search for a non-related donor, Rob underwent a bone marrow transplant at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston. The transplant was successful, and on September 3, 1993, Rob went home to begin his recovery. During this time, unexpected complications arose, which eventually claimed Rob’s life on October 12, 1993, at the young age of 43.