Matt Ellis died on May 10, 2010. He was the U.S. vice president of Colebrook Bosson Saunders, 35 years of age, and about to be married this summer. The six week trajectory of his cancer diagnosis to his untimely death at Memorial Sloan Kettering left me initially numb and dumbfounded, which very quickly morphed into anger and confusion and a huge sense of loss. What happened ?
Six weeks ago, he began to lose weight and feel some pain. This lead to a trip to the emergency ward, and I hopped a plane to New York almost immediately after his release from Lenox Hill hospital. We met in a bar near his apartment to discuss the unthinkable: Advanced stage 3 stomach cancer – both inoperable and incurable. There was one option, intense chemotherapy that might, just might, shrink the tumor and make it operable. It offered hope and we clung to it; as he was young, quite fit, and up for the battle of his life. Surely, this is what would be the result and all would end on a positive note. Right? Right!
I visited Matt and his fiancé Sarah and soon left the corporate apartment we maintain in New York. They needed space and time to deal with the issues at hand privately. From the sidelines, I watched the two of them bang against the unpadded, rough sawn walls of their emotions and try to make any sense or meaning of this unfolding horror. There was none, and he bravely forged ahead, jumping back into the office , working on timelines, and running things in that calm and even manner of his. On the second week of chemotherapy, his life abruptly ended.
He was kind, generous, loyal, loved life and lived it. It was an honor to have known him and worked with him, and he will have an undying influence on me and my attitude towards life.
Rest in Peace Matt.
Peter Bosson – US CEO , Colebrook Bosson Saunders