Thank you all so much for the outpouring of sympathy and support we have received in the aftermath of my father's unexpectedly sudden death. Many people have commented that they didn't know that Vic was sick. In fact, he didn't know. No one knew.
Vic went to the doctor for a routine checkup on Wednesday, July 30th. We had been concerned because he seemed to bruise too easily, but he thought little of that, and he felt fine. He had come into the office, as usual, the day before.
The bruising concerned the doctor, too, so he sent Vic to a hematologist. Tests showed an abnormally low blood platelet count. Platelets are the blood components that initiate clotting. Their absence poses the risk of uncontrollable bleeding. So Vic was sent to the emergency room.
That evening, he was diagnosed with Immune (or Idiopathic) Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), in which platelets are attacked by the body's own immune system. "Idiopathic" means that the cause is unknown. The immune response can be suppressed by a steroid drug, and platelet count may be raised by administering immunoglobulin. Both courses were followed. Neither is a cure; the object was to raise the platelet count temporarily, just enough to permit surgery to remove the spleen, where most platelets are destroyed.
Vic continued to suffer little distress, except for being penned in a hospital. He continued his vigorous discussions with the VT staff by telephone, right through Friday. However, the treatments were not working, and the outcome probably was inevitable.
Early Sunday morning, August 10th, I received a call that my father was suffering a cerebral hemorrhage. He was unconscious by the time we reached his bedside. A few hours later, we were told he was brain dead. Two neurologists confirmed that there was no brain activity. A respirator was necessary to maintain his vital functions.
We discussed our options by Vic's bedside, and talked about the material and spiritual implications of the decision we had to make. We decided that Vic would not have wanted to survive without his faculties, and we steeled ourselves to let the hospital remove him from life support. But his heart stopped beating on its own, 15 minutes before he was to be taken off the respirator. I can't help believing that Vic spared us from having to bear the unbearable.
Many of you have asked what you can do to honor his memory. Naturally, I think about the insidious disease that struck him down with so little warning. There is no cure for ITP, and the percentage rate of new cases is increasing. More is known about the disease each year, but the critical questions remain unanswered.
The Platelet Disorder Support Association has established a fund to underwrite research into ITP. You can contribute in Vic's name, online at www.pdsa.org/research.htm, or by sending a check or credit card number to Research Fund, P.O Box 61533, Potomac, MD 20859. Contributions are tax-deductible. You can also join PDSA's "Fight Platelet Disorders" race/walk pledge program.
On behalf of the Lavay family, and our VENDING TIMES family too, I thank you again for all your support. Many of you have sent personal e-mails and cards, comforting us during this very difficult time. Vic Lavay loved this industry, and devoted more than four decades of his life to it. All of us are touched by the love the industry is returning to us. Thank you for your kindness and for your prayers.
Publisher and President