Passing The Torch After 35 Years of Leadership

A Retirement Announcement from Jeffrey Toughill

When my daughter, Bethany, was diagnosed with histiocytosis 35 years ago, I made it my life’s mission to comfort as many families as I could and to find a way to save the lives of children and adults fighting histiocytic disorders around the world. Early on in my family’s journey, I embraced a poem written by Emily Dickinson entitled, “If I Can Stop One Heart From Breaking.” This poem captures the sentiments that are at the very core of the Histiocytosis Association as an organization and etched on the heart of a father desperate to provide hope to others facing a similar road.

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.

For 35 years, I’ve cried, listened, laughed, and prayed with many of you. I hope during these times I have lessened your pain and given you hope. I’m proud to say that, together, we have been able to find better treatments that have saved more lives than you and I will ever know about. We’ve taken the idea of a determined group of people sitting around a small kitchen table in Pitman, New Jersey and grown it into a globally recognized organization that is truly making a difference.

This year, I will turn 79 years of age; I can’t believe how fast the time has passed. I want to ensure that the momentum of progress that we have been able to create never slows down and in fact, moves faster than ever. After much consideration, it’s time for me to step back and turn over the reins to an energetic leader who will take us into the future - someone who is committed to our cause, passionate about people, and understands the unique needs of a global nonprofit organization.

The Association’s Board of Trustees has been preparing for this succession for several months. We’ve put together a plan and are working with an executive recruitment firm to help us identify potential candidates with the goal of placing an Executive Director within the next three months. I plan to stay actively involved with the Association in a different role until the end of 2020 and look forward to a smooth transition with a new leader bringing new hopes and visions for the Histiocytosis Association.

I am very excited about this change – for myself, for the Association, and most importantly for the people of the Histio Community. Years from now, I hope my legacy is a thriving Association that helped to discover a cure for histiocytic disorders so that no child, adult or family faces the devastating effects of histio. It is then that I will have “not lived in vain.”

Thank you for 35 years of unfailing friendship and support.

With warmest regards,

Jeffrey M. Toughill
President and CEO

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