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It is with a heavy heart that we announce the unexpected passing of our dear friend KJ Surkan. KJ passed away peacefully in his sleep on Saturday, January 28th. Born February 6, 1969, KJ was a light in this world and was an integral part of our community. There are no words to express our deep sorrow but we are grateful to have known KJ.

KJ’s contributions and impact to the BRCA community is vast. As a leader and activist, KJ was an important voice for privacy, ethics, rights and research. He was a founding Board Member of the Light Collective (#BeLikeLight) and #LGBTQIA+ Patient Rights Advocate. If that wasn’t enough, KJ or Dr. Surkan was an author, lecturer, academic and a professor of the Women’s & Gender Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for over 18 years. He was a beloved professor by his students and colleagues at MIT.

KJ’s greatest achievement are his beautiful kids. His devotion and love for his kids was immense. Our hearts break for his teenaged kids and family. We send our deepest condolences to KJ’s loved ones.

RIP KJ, you will be deeply missed.

I took the attached photo at our Light Collective cancer advocacy conference in Washington, D.C. The photo is of KJ, on the left, with the BRCA Sisterhood founders Teri Smieja, in the middle, and Karen Malken Lazarovitz on the right. KJ’s smile was big but his heart was even bigger.

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