It is with deep sadness that we share news of the passing of Jeff Kolodin, former chair of the National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS) Board of Directors, due to the effects of COVID. His commitment to the brain tumor community, magnetic personality, and unstoppable perseverance have been an inspiration to patients, caregivers, researchers, corporate partners, and organizations across the country. Our hearts go out to Jeff’s family, including his partner Tina, his children, Lauren and Michael, and his mother Nancy.
Nearly twenty-five years ago, Jeff was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor and given months to live. For many in the brain tumor community, Jeff was a beacon of hope—an example of graceful survivorship in the face of an otherwise bleak diagnosis. He was an ever-present force at the Race for Hope DC each year, serving as co-chair, and as a source of calm for those struggling with a diagnosis themselves. Jeff made a personal impact on all those he connected with in addition to the tremendous impact he made on the mission to conquer and cure brain tumors—once and for all. We will all truly miss Jeff serving as a strong voice and symbol of survivorship for the entire brain tumor community.
In addition to his term as chair of the NBTS Board of Directors, Jeff was an active member and co-chair of the Race for Hope DC committee. He was critical in the development and implementation of the Richmond Brain Tumor 5K and sat on the planning committee for the race. Jeff was among the first NBTS advocates, and helped those new to advocacy to feel comfortable speaking to elected officials. As chair of the board, he helped lead NBTS to launch the Defeat GBM Research Collaborative, the groundbreaking multi-institutional team research consortium that resulted in paradigm-shifting discoveries, new targets, biomarker approaches, and field-shaping understanding of glioblastoma.
Jeff will leave a lasting legacy on the brain tumor community and on friends across the country, and his impact will be felt for many years to come. Jeff’s obituary is available here.
“On behalf of everyone at the National Brain Tumor Society, we are deeply saddened about the passing of Jeff Kolodin. He wore many hats at NBTS over many years, including volunteer, donor, advocate, chair of the board, co-chair of the Race for Hope-DC, and member of the Finance Committee. I will always remember Jeff the most for his abundant caring for patients and families. He was always giving of his time, knowledge, and emotional support to those seeking out the best care. Jeff was also a strong advocate for brain tumor research and supported NBTS’s efforts to innovate how research was funded and supported. Finally, but perhaps most importantly, Jeff was a vibrant example of survivorship and let everyone know at the Race for Hope each year that he was proud of that and was living his life to the fullest. I will miss Jeff’s enthusiasm and dedication. He got to know many in the NBTS community as well as our staff. As an ambassador, he was willing to talk to anyone and go anywhere to support and amplify the urgency of our mission. I always appreciated how Jeff said he was proud of our organization and how much he talked with pride and love about his children Michael and Lauren and his partner Tina. We will miss you Jeff!” – David Arons, CEO
“I was heartbroken to learn of the passing of my friend and Race for Hope Co-Chair Jeff Kolodin. For over twenty years I have had the privilege of working with Jeff. The success of the Race for Hope, from the money raised for brain tumor research, to the example he set for Race for Hope survivors, to the spirit and overwhelming sense of community generated by the event were due in large part to Jeff. His determination, courage, tireless work, and vision were on display year after year, inspiring all of us, his friends and Race for Hope organizers. We will all miss him. My deepest sympathies to his children and his family.” – Jonathan Weinberg, Race for Hope Co-Chair
“In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey challenges us to “begin with the end in mind.” Now, before you dismiss this seemingly simple idea as elementary, it’s important to understand exactly what it is. Mr. Covey wasn’t talking about how to begin our next project, letter, or email. He was talking about how to begin the rest of our lives. Imagine a gathering of people. Now imagine that it just happens to be a gathering of people attending your future funeral or memorial service. Who will be there? What will they say about you? How will they remember you? What will they say you stood for, and how will they describe your legacy? We should all begin the rest of our lives right now by asking ourselves these important questions and living our lives with the singular goal of having them answered the way we’d want them answered. That’s what it means to begin with the end in mind. I think that my friend, Jeffrey Kolodin, lived his life with the end in mind. And I think that, along with his family and many friends, every single member of the international brain tumor community – now and in the future – is a part of his permanent legacy.” – Michael Nathanson, former chair of the NBTS Board of Directors (Read his full comments about Jeff here.)
“As a long-time survivor, Jeff was a beacon of inspiration to a community desperately in need of hope and optimism. He sought out newly diagnosed patients, including my own husband in 2002, and provided solace and encouragement. In so many ways, Jeff personified the Race for Hope DC. Every year on race day, he proudly wore his yellow survivor t-shirt and hat and announced from the stage that “Survivor” was the most important role he played that day. I, along with so many others, will miss Jeff’s bright smile, humor, and warmth.” – Lauren Bogart, friend and former Race for Hope Event Director
If you would like to pay tribute to Jeff, please share a comment below with the community.