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Mayors Committee on Life Sciences Patient Courage Award Presented to Ralph Wehmann in Alpine

(L. to r.) Ralph Wehmann, Alpine Mayor Paul Tomasko and Dean Paranicas

Alpine, NJ, November 28, 2017 —The Mayors Committee on Life Sciences on November 20 presented its Patient Courage Award to Alpine resident Ralph Wehmann, in recognition of his strength in the face of adversity and commitment to helping others.

The honor was presented by Dean J. Paranicas, who serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of the HealthCare Institute of New Jersey (HINJ) and a Co-Chair of We Work for Health New Jersey, during the Alpine Mayor and Council meeting.

Mr. Wehmann’s battle with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) began in 2012. It was not his first brush with a life-threatening illness, so it came as no surprise to those that know him that he fought back with the same determination and positive spirit he had demonstrated previously.

For four years, only Ralph’s immediate family knew of his illness, and he continued his strenuous job managing a municipal roads department and serving as a volunteer fireman.

In 2016, Mr. Wehmann decided to retire and focus on the job of overcoming MDS. By this time, treatments to delay the disease had stopped working so the only possibility for a cure was a stem cell transplant. By this point, extended family and friends were told about his illness, and he and his family received an outpouring of love and support.

A donor was found, and Mr. Wehmann underwent the difficult procedure. Buoyed by the support of those around him, he endured difficult days of isolation, a strict dietary regime, a walking program and other restrictions.

Now a year post-transplant, Ralph has returned to many of his previous activities, such as helping others with landscaping and home-improvement projects.

He still has some restrictions on his activities as his new immune system develops, but he considers this a small price to pay. Mr. Wehmann continues to enjoy life with his “full steam ahead” attitude, and is an inspiration to everyone who knows him.

Alpine Mayor Paul H. Tomasko nominated Mr. Wehmann for the Patient Courage Award.

Since forming in 2010, the Mayors Committee on Life Sciences — a joint endeavor of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities and We Work for Health New Jersey — a has worked to promote economic development and innovation, educate legislators, policy makers and the public about the importance of the life sciences industry to New Jersey and its local communities, and benchmarked best practices within host communities that help grow and nurture the industry.