Henry Dreher - Writer, Researcher, Cancer Guide, Sweetheart: 6/6/55-10/18/15

I was stunned and saddened to learn that the sweet-natured, kind-hearted and very brilliant health writer and cancer guide, Henry Dreher, died last week.

I so liked knowing he was out there in the world somewhere, even when I couldn't always find him. (I think sometimes he had to hide from all of us, because his oversized generosity and world class empathy would bury him under way too much work and care.)

He helped my husband, my brother and countless friends and clients, not to mention all the people who asked for help on this blog, to sort through all the confusing options of cancer treatment and care. I got scores of thank you's from so many of you for recommending him.

Having Henry on your side during a health crisis was like having your own personal angel-coach - gentle, empathic, knowledgeable and diligent. He'd pull all-nighters in the virtual stacks of the National Library of Medicine to find the best treatment options in the FDA pipeline, and the most effective nutritional supplements for reducing their side effects.

And a lot of times, he wouldn't take fees, if he felt someone couldn't really afford to pay them. (And it wasn't like Henry was rolling in dough and could easily work for nothing, folks.)

When the results of a big randomized, controlled, blinded study of the efficacy of various mind-body audios on the pain, anxiety, blood loss and length of stay on 335 surgery patients was not getting written up – this was a study that showed that our Health Journeys guided imagery for surgery dramatically outperformed 4 other kinds of audio interventions - Henry took it upon himself to write it up and submit it, because he felt the findings were too important not to be published and disseminated. That was one more thing he did for nothing. That was Henry for you.

Here is what his partner, Deborah Chiel, wrote about him in Facebook. It's succinct, eloquent and perfect:

Henry died, suddenly and unexpectedly, on October 18, 2015. He was much loved by family and friends for his kindness, humor, intelligence, and boundless curiosity. His many cancer clients greatly appreciated his generous spirit, optimism, and passionate commitment to discovering solutions that saved or prolonged their lives. An adoring father and caring partner, he will be deeply missed, most of all by his beloved daughter Ava and me. May he finally find time to read all his books and listen to Patti, Lou Reed, the Ramones, Alex Chilton, and the rest of the CBGB gang.

Sleep with the angels, Henry. You were one yourself.

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