In Memory of Mr. Patrick Michael Mcgrady, Jr. -- (Extensions of Remarks - May 18, 2004)
HON. FRANK PALLONE, JR.
OF NEW JERSEY
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
TUESDAY, MAY 18, 2004
Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I rise to honor the memory of Patrick Michael McGrady. Mr. McGrady was a great American who devoted his life to helping people with cancer, including a great number of people from New Jersey's Sixth Congressional District.
Born in 1932 in a rural village in Washington's Olympic Peninsula, Mr. McGrady attended Yale University on a scholarship, excelling in German, Russian, and Yiddish. After graduating from Yale in 1954, Mr. McGrady served a stint at the Chicago-Sun Times, and subsequently moved on to write for the Associated Press and United Press International. He later served as bureau chief in Moscow for Newsweek magazine before becoming an author of books about health and medicine.
Mr. McGrady later became founder and director of CANHELP, an information service for cancer patients operating out of Port Ludlow, WA. He subsequently devoted 20 years of his life to this organization that provided a lifeline for people caught in what he deemed "The Cancer Patient's Quandary."
According to Mr. McGrady, many cancer patients find themselves in a quandary because, "You don't know how long you'll live, you don't know what it is like to die and you haven't the vaguest notion of where to turn for a cure." Things can rapidly become tragic, he noted, "because the patient has so little time to make a series of decisions, all of which simply have to be correct. Just one misstep can spell a premature and ugly death."
Mr. McGrady came to understand this quandary too well when his father, a science editor of the American Cancer Society, suffered an "ugly death" from colon cancer in 1979. Appalled by the needless pain and misery that his father endured, Mr. McGrady remarked, "This treatment, these manners, this attitude, are not exceptional, they are commonplace. I know this from the atrocities cancer patients tell me everyday. It is the rule in a society where the practice of medicine has become a commodity like pork bellies and soy beans and where human beings are viewed as pigeons to be plucked."
Determined not to let another cancer patient endure such maltreatment, Mr. McGrady spent his time as director of CANHELP, focusing on helping patients navigate the cancer care maze and understand its complexities. Unfortunately, Mr. McGrady passed away on December 12, 2003, ending a long life devoted to helping others.
Mr. Speaker, as the 6-month anniversary of Mr. McGrady's death approaches, I wanted to share his story with my colleagues, and pay tribute to this remarkable man. Accordingly, I ask that my colleagues join me in honoring the distinguished Mr. Patrick Michael McGrady, Jr., and all of his remarkable contributions.