Greg Bardsley



Greg’s Friends Doing Amazing Things — J.P. Gallagher

imgBio_JPBack in October of 2008, I blogged about J.P. Gallagher, a friend of mine who’d just learned he had stomach cancer.

It was a scary time. So many questions no one could answer. Was the cancer spreading? Would it respond to radiation and chemo? How would he and his wife  accommodate the birth of their third child just weeks after the docs would take out J.P.’s stomach? Life would change, for sure, but what would it look like, and how would they live it?

Well, I have good news. J.P. kicked the shit out of that cancer.

The past 20 months threw just about everything they could at J.P. and his family. Those 20 months gave, and they took away. A daughter was born. New friendships were made. Just weeks after J.P.’s surgery, his father died — later, his sister passed away, too. But the world kept spinning, and J.P. and his family kept fighting, and living.

Now, there’s nothing serendipitous about cancer. I know that. But there is something remarkable how a variety of circumstances came together to create something truly amazing out of something that had been downright awful.

Part of it was the fact J.P. always had a passion for the non-profit sector — he’d been elected chairman of the board for at the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC): Southwest, and he’d earned an MBA with concentrations in marketing and public/non-profit management. Another part of it was the fact that, through his treatment, J.P. had gotten to know some of the world’s leaders in gastric cancer research, and that he just happened to work for a company that made the computers needed to assist with that research.

Toss in the fact that, back in October ’08, his wife Cindy insisted he see a doctor about a swallowing problem and that, had he not gone, he’d likely be dead today, and you start to wonder if this is where J.P. is supposed to be — back in the saddle of life, full of energy, surviving cancer and starting The Gastric Cander Fund, which aims to do nothing short of finding a cure for the disease. With J.P.’s vision as well as the help of his employer, NetApp, the foundation aims to provide one lucky research group everything it would need — the money, the computers, the medical collaboration — to find the root cause of gastric cancer.

Pretty fricking cool.

And if you’re wondering how in the hell J.P. ever found the time and energy (let alone the vision) to start something like this while fighting for his life and mourning the loss of loved ones, on top of everything else, I don’t have an answer.

In October 2008, I asked you to pray for J.P. and his people. Today, I ‘m asking you to learn more about his new foundation, and to consider helping.

I’m thinking about a friend, and I couldn’t be more proud of him.

NOTE: This marks the beginning of what I hope will be an occasional series in which I tell you about friends doing some pretty cool things.

Thinking about a friend

Thinking about a friend.

Thinking about a young man, 38, a father of two with another baby coming in December. Thinking about a friend who is loved and adored by his wife, his parents and sisters and so many friends. Thinking about a special man who always seems more interested in others, this man with a gentle smile and easy laugh, this man who always has carved precious time out of his hectic life to help people he doesn’t even know.

Thinking of my friend, JP, who went to the doctor’s 10 days ago and learned he has cancer.


JP has stomach cancer, but there is good news.

His cancer is in the early stages. It has not spread to his organs. It has not metastized. It is not in his lymph nodes. The doctors (and they’re the best around) have a plan; they’re going to remove his stomach, get the cancer out of his body, and use chemo and radiation to knock the tar out of any other cancer cells possibly left behind. His wife Cindy is a savvy advocate, and they are surrounded by a ton of love and support.

And they will not be alone through this thing. In the months to come, it might not feel like it, but they will have the prayers and support of not only their friends and families, but strangers they might never know. I believe they will find strength in places, and in people, they never would have expected. I know that in some sick way, this will open doors to wisdom and insight the rest of us won’t have.

And I know that this, too, shall pass. This will suck. This will suck big-time in a lot of ways, no doubt, but I do believe this will pass. There will come a time when it won’t be the first thing they think of when waking, nor the last thing clawing at their minds as they finally succumb to sleep. I believe this.


I’m thinking about a friend. I’m thinking about his people. I’m praying for them, and I am behind them. So are hundreds of others. In this spirit, I ask you to say a prayer for him, to wish him well here, or maybe just go do something nice for a complete stranger, just like JP has done for so long.

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