UCAR Staff Notes masthead
Home Our Organization Research News Center Education Community Tools Libraries
About Staff Notes
Past Issues
Favorite Photos
How to Subscribe


staff notes header

September 2007

HAO's Phil Judge returns full-time after cancer

Former NCAR scientist Holly Gilbert to race in Phil's honor

Phil Judge

Phil Judge.

Phil Judge, who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2003, is happy to be back in his office focusing his attention on solar physics again. He returned to full-time work in July.

"It's wonderful to be able to attack some problems in depth again, especially now that fantastic data from the Hinode spacecraft and HAO's CoMP instrument have come online," he says. "I am working with colleagues old and new in HAO and am greatly indebted to NCAR, especially HAO director Michael Knölker, for continued support and understanding."

Multiple myeloma, a blood cancer of plasma cells which originates at the stem cell level, is an incurable but treatable disease. In 2003, Phil underwent months of treatment, including emergency spinal surgery, a stem cell transplant, and radiation. (See "On the Web" for more about how UCAR's benefits aided his battle against cancer.)

"I have been so fortunate over the last few years," Phil says. "So many things had to happen just for me to continue to live."

A near-fatal relapse while traveling in Europe during the summer of 2004 culminated in a stem cell transplant from his sister, Claire, to rebuild healthy bone marrow. A consequence of this lifesaving treatment is the rejection of his own body by his sister's immune system, a condition called "graft versus host disease." Because one result of this is increased susceptibility to infection, Phil warns colleagues not to expect to see him in person a full 40 hours each week.

UCAR's flextime policy has been especially helpful for Phil. From February 2003 to June 2007, he worked part-time from his home. He was able to publish six scientific papers and write 40% of a book on coronal heating, as well as carry out other work-related activities.

Holly Gilbert, a former HAO staffer who is presently at Rice University, is training to run the Houston Aramco ½ Marathon in Phil's honor in January. Her participation will raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which addresses multiple myeloma and other blood cancers.

"I'm completing this event in honor of all individuals who are battling blood cancers, but specifically in honor of Phil, friend and former colleague," Holly says. "His strength and positive attitude throughout his battle are nothing short of inspiring."

"I am so delighted that Holly decided to do this," Phil says. "The kind of fundraising that she's participating in is particularly important right now as real progress continues to be made toward cures for some of these nasty diseases."

Phil describes himself as on the verge of death in 2004, when his doctor found a research article published two months earlier describing a treatment previously applied to sufferers of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. They decided to try it.

"The experiment obviously worked and has been applied to more than a dozen patients in the center where I was treated since then," Phil says. "So research really saves lives."

On the Web

Battling cancer—with help from UCAR (Staff Notes Monthly, November 2003)

In this issue...

A smoother ride

HAO's Phil Judge returns full-time after cancer

More power for the TeraGrid

Summer school—but not the remedial kind

Planning for retirement

SOARS poster session

Symposium salutes Warren Washington

Art + Science: EcoArts returns to Boulder area

UCAR ranks high in Colorado's Best Companies contest

Just One Look


Staff Notes home page | News Center