Remembering Gil Marchman – Pancreatic Cancer Action Network

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Gil Marchman

A tireless advocate for pancreatic cancer research who has met with members of Congress each year for PanCAN Advocacy events in Washington DC

One of the original PanCAN Survivor Council members, passionate about raising awareness in the black community.

A 22-year pancreatic cancer survivor known for his “incredible TV announcer voice” and storied career as a college football referee.

Gil Marchman, a beloved member of the PanCAN family, was all of this and more.

When he passed away on March 25, 2022, friends from his local PanCAN affiliate in Chicago and others across the country came together to honor his memory with an outpouring of memories and tributes. Together, their words represent how much Gil meant to other survivors and families – he was a mentor, a leader, a friend to many.

His passion for pancreatic cancer awareness even led him to skydiving. In 2019, at age 84, Gil met fellow survivors Roberta Luna and Susie Lemieux to “jump out of a mint plane” to celebrate 20 years of surviving. (Read more in Roberta’s recollection below and in a story published in 2019.)

“If jumping out of a plane can help spread awareness about this disease, I will,” Gil said at the time. “Pancreatic cancer is a difficult disease, but developments are underway. More people need to know and talk about this disease. There is always hope.”

Gil’s commitment to giving back to fellow survivors and families, his legacy of service to PanCAN, and his fierce determination to raise awareness and improve outcomes will not be soon forgotten.

Learn more about members of the PanCAN family as they honor Gil’s memory:

“I will always remember Gil’s calm demeanor, engaging narration and incredible voice announcer.

At one of our first Survivor Council meetings, we practiced reading PanCAN information for the media and Gil’s smooth, deep delivery always sounded like a TV announcer.

Gil was also a great representative for the black community and spoke about ways we could bring better awareness and resources to help the community respond to pancreatic cancer.

He will definitely be missed!”

— Denis Cronin

“I met Gil on my first day of advocacy and we exchanged emails a few times in my role as Survivor Council alumni. Such a gentleman!

–Steve Nelson

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Gil Marchman. I met Gil when I first went to Advocacy Day. I was so happy to meet him and hear his survivor story. At that time, I had not met an African American survivor. He was such an inspiration to me. He gave me hope. We always made it a point to take a picture together. He touched many lives. I am grateful for all he has done to raise awareness about pancreatic cancer. Our world is a better place for all he has done. 💜💜💜

–Sandra Mack

“’We’ are very lucky to still be here, and when one of ‘us’ leaves, it’s especially sad. I never had the pleasure of meeting Gil, but his picture makes me smile. I am sure he will be missed by many. RIP Gil Marchman.

–John Walmsley

“Gil was a kind and generous man who wanted to make a difference for those affected by pancreatic cancer, especially in the black community.

Gil loved football and was extremely proud of his accomplishments: the Big Ten Conference, first a team of African-American officials; inducted into the Hall of Fame of three football officials; referee in a Rose Bowl game.

Gil’s passion was to raise awareness as much as possible, “even if it means jumping out of a perfectly good plane, that’s what I will do!” In 2019, to celebrate 20 years of survival, Gil came from Chicago to jump with us.

When Gil was first diagnosed, not much was known or told about pancreatic cancer. Gil shared that he always felt like he got way more from the Survivor Council than he gave. He learned something new from each of us at each meeting. I also learned something new from him – everyone has a story and we have to look at every story with fresh eyes, listen to every story with fresh ears.

Gil was looking forward to coming back this year to jump with me and celebrate my 20 years of survival. He was with me that day, but not exactly as planned.

I share Gil’s wish: “I want to see a cure before I leave this world, so that others can live without fear of pancreatic cancer”.

–Roberta Luna

“I remember talking with Gil about some of his accomplishments and I know he was determined to learn more about pancreatic cancer and share his knowledge with the community. I missed having him on our calls and feel lucky to have volunteered with him.

-Diane Borrison

“Gil was special and had a wonderful sense of humor. He has certainly been a powerful force in our mission to cure this disease, and I know he will be missed.

-Ralph Cheney

Contact a PanCAN Patient Services Case Manager
It’s PanCAN Action Week. Act now to send a powerful message to Congress: increase federal funding for pancreatic cancer research.

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