It is with great sadness that the Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) family mourns the loss of our dear friend, Roger Taylor, husband of our esteemed board member, Roxann. All of us at PCF are heartbroken to share with you the news of Roger’s passing.
For those of us who came to befriend and adore Roger and Roxann, and also came to admire both their courage and love for each other, there really seems no adequate words of condolence. Roger’s grace and humor and “grit” – even with multiple moments of bad clinical news – never left him. Roger was a success in family life with its love and joy — as Roxann can attest – and also in business, in being loyal to his diverse and colorful friends. He and Roxann were also so generous in giving back.
Roger was with us smiling at every PCF East Coast event including Palm Beach in January. He inspired all involved in caring for him, and reminded us why we forge ahead with our research mission. Beyond the cruelty of the diagnosis, Roxann and Roger both became deeply knowledgeable about prostate cancer. They together faced initial diagnosis down to the genetics itself. Roger was the son of a gifted and dedicated cardiologist father and a talented practice manager mother, living in a grateful small town. Beginning with his parents, Roger appreciated doctors and nurses. The Taylors have this most rare gift of making all the doctors and nurses feel specially cared for.
A brilliant graduate of Williams College and Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, Roger immediately perceived how precious and vital the human biomedical research effort is to solving the cancer problem. Roger always said “thank you for caring for me” no matter how difficult the return of new medical information was. Roger and Roxann cared about moving the entire field forward. They philanthropically funded two of the world’s most gifted young scientists working on new precision treatments for aggressive prostate cancers. In addition they wanted others to give.
As Dr. William Oh at Mount Sinai told PCF, when added up, Roger volunteered for 10 lines of investigational clinical trial-based treatments. Roger was dauntless in wanting to participate in any clinical trial. He simultaneously wanted to improve his quality and quantity of life and also help guide the future treatment of thousands of men with prostate cancer he would never meet. Roger was selfless, fearless, calm, and cheerful. His level of outward “Zen” about taking the next experimental treatment as just the next “move” made many of us amazed. Roger’s inner “mental stillness” — in the face of adverse situations — must have contributed to how magnificent a golfer he was. And he was. It explains in part how beautifully he played that game he loved from boyhood in Auburn, New York onward until he could play no more.
Roxann correctly characterized Roger’s cancer as “pure evil.” Roger and Roxann proactively sought out treatment by a team of the best minds and knowledge in the PCF research enterprise and the most impactful prostate cancer researchers of the past 20 years. Roger did not run out of courage, modern oncology and the global PCF research enterprise ran out of experimental drugs.
Roger loved the poetry of W.B. Yeats. Yeats wrote in Municipal Gallery Revisited “think where man’s glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends.” Roger leaves behind so many devoted friends including all his doctors and nurses. Roger’s loss to family, friends, and our society is a reminder of why the work of the PCF Research Enterprise, PCF staff and the Board of Directors is unfinished and vital. Dr. Oh, speaking for six other PCF-funded oncologists involved in Roger’s care, were so affected by Roger’s death, they are somber themselves, and simultaneously grateful for coming to know Roger and Roxann. Like them, please join us in keeping the Taylor family in our prayers, and in a quiet moment, celebrate our good fortune to have come to know our good friend, Roger Taylor.
Increasing Awareness about Prostate Cancer
Roger was a true champion of PCF, supporting both its mission for funding research and increased public awareness about the disease. Through his personal and professional networks, Roger led the creation and delivery of a golf-themed Public Service Announcement (PSA) featuring Andy North, Matt Kuchar and J.B. Holmes. This PSA is engaging men around the world to take control of their health, and Roger’s persistence and vision will live on in this lifesaving message. You can view the PSA along with the behind the scenes footage below:
Accelerating PCF Research
The PCF research community is grateful for the support of the Taylor family. Through the generosity of Roxann and Roger, PCF initiated the 2019 Roxann Taylor, Michael Deaddio, & Thomas H. Lee – PCF VAlor Young Investigator Award with Dr. Navonil De Sarkar at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and the 2019 ASTRO – PCF Career Development Award to End Prostate Cancer with Dr. Amar Kishan at UCLA. If successful, Dr. De Sarkar’s project will result in a tool to improve the identification of prostate cancer patients who are likely to respond to PARP-inhibitors and platinum chemotherapy. At the same time, Dr. Kishan is working to develop biomarkers to identify which patients with localized high-grade prostate cancer will benefit from more intense treatment regimens, while preventing overtreatment and unnecessary side-effects in other patients.