We write in memory of Randy Allgaier, who died on Saturday, November 27th, 2010 after complications from treatment for anal cancer. We honor him for fiercely advocating healthcare equality for stigmatized diseases and sharing the anal cancer experience openly.

For over two decades, Mr. Allgaier fought for equal rights, treatment and health options for the HIV+/AIDS population.  When diagnosed with Hepatitis C, he incorporated mistreatment against people living with the disease into his advocacy.  On December 01, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi recognized Mr. Allgaier for his consistent and valued service to the community: “Randy… fought day and night to beat back this disease. Together, we will continue that same fight – working with determination, hope, and compassion to one day end the HIV/AIDS pandemic.”

When diagnosed with anal cancer in June, Mr. Allgaier brought his experience to the public realm, and created a blog, mynewestchallenge.wordpress.com. He confronted his disease head-on, writing of his cancer: “we give it that power if we choose to. I, for one, choose not to give it that power.” He highlighted not only the difficult physical experience of anal cancer treatment, but also the emotional ups and downs of living with anal cancer, AIDS and Hepatitis C.

Mr. Allgaier used his diagnosis as an opportunity to teach others about the risks of anal cancer in the HIV+/AIDS community. In July, he completed a white paper on HIV and aging for the San Francisco HIV Health Services Planning Council. He highlighted the risks of anal cancer in the HIV+/AIDS population, particularly as many HIV+ people now live longer due to advances in anti-retroviral therapy.  Anal cancer incidence is highest in aging, HIV+ gay men.

We had just started to know Mr. Allgaier before he passed. We are saddened that we will not be able to work together with Mr. Allgaier to raise awareness for anal cancer and expand healthcare options for patients in the coming years.

We extend our deepest condolences to Mr. Allgaier’s family and friends and thank him for his work as a leader in the HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, and anal cancer communities.

“[I] live this newest part of my life out loud, as I believe I always have… I hope that by knowing my life, other will see that AIDS is by far a disease that cannot be shelved – it deserves to be front and center and the needs of older people living with HIV must be addressed.” – Randy Allgaier, mynewestchallenge.wordpress.com