Dr. Chaya Venkat passed away from heart failure on Sept. 20th, 2023, at home with family.
For those of us with a long history of searching for deep and fresh online knowledge on all things CLL / SLL, Chaya’s CLLTopics.org was like mana feeding hungry minds in a near-desert of CLL information in the nineties with her delicious predigested, pre-researched bite-size pieces of critical data. She often also spiced things up with her highly opinionated editorials on the importance of the research she was presenting.
She and her late husband, PC, were also valued friends. Patty and I visited them in Sedona and remember their kindness. PC’s decision to opt for an allogeneic hemopoietic stem cell transplant significantly influenced me to do the same. His passing from complications after his transplant on the day I was admitted for mine, left me saddened and frankly pretty scared.
Most of Chaya’s time sharing CLL research and information on CLLTopics.org and later, even after PC’s passing on Updates.CLLtopics.net was just before the coming of the sea change in CLL / SLL care with the new targeted therapies. The timing for PC and many others was not good.
Her thoughtful explanations of complex topics reminded me of the importance of making research simple but not simplistic. Though our online work has very different styles and purposes, I greatly admire and gratefully acknowledge her leadership and influence in CLL patient education. She was a blessing to all of us who knew her.
Rest in peace. You were a wise and generous trailblazer for so many of us.
Stay strong; we are all in this together.
Brian Koffman MDCM (retired) MS Ed (he, him, his)
Co-Founder, Executive VP, and Chief Medical Officer
CLL Society, Inc.