Tragic Loss of Ivan Vidal

Juan Crespo-Barreto's picture

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Dear Colleagues, I received this email from the PRNeuroscience list and wanted to share it with you. Although I didn't know this student, it is a tragic loss of a young neuroscientist from Dr. Gregory Kirk's Lab at Ponce School of Medicine: "From: Forum for MFP Neuroscience Fellows on behalf of Austin-Dailey, Andrew Sent: Mon 8/28/2006 12:43 PM To: MFP_NEURO@LISTS.APA.ORG Subject: [MFP_NEURO] Tragic Drowning of DPN Fellow Dear DPN Fellows, Alumni, and Friends, Below is a compilation of e-mail messages from Drs. Kenira Thompson and Sandra Peña de Ortiz: Iván Vidal-González passed away Friday in a tragic accident. He drowned at the beach in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. Iván was a fifth year doctoral student at the University of Puerto Rico's Ponce School of Medicine. He was in his second year of DPN support and was so proud to be a Fellow! He was also a previous SPINES Fellow. Iván worked in Dr. Gregory Quirk's lab for almost 7 years (since he was a MARC undergraduate student). As all of those who had the pleasure of talking and interacting with him know, Iván had a special spark that made him special and difficult to forget. This is what happened: Iván's girlfriend (of 6 yrs), Marta, was going to U Michigan on Monday to do a PhD in Immunology. He took the afternoon off from the lab on Friday to spend the day with her at the beach. Marta couldn't swim and they were not far from shore, but apparently the current was strong and they were pushed away from shore. When Iván realized how far they were, he swam to push Marta towards the shore. Apparently he managed to get her near the shore and a woman helped her out, but the current pushed him farther away and then they lost sight of him. He surfaced about 5 mins later and was already dead. He drowned but saved his girlfriend. That was so like Iván! We are planning a memorial for this week. Everyone is pitching in to help his parents offset funeral costs. They have 3 other kids and not a lot of money. Greg is thinking of organizing a fundraiser later on to establish a scholarship in Iván's name at Ponce School of Medicine (or something like that). Iván had a lot of friends here, but he touched people wherever he went. He was the pride and joy of his family. He was a first-generation college student, and took such pride in his work. He was a great student, a great guy, and a good friend to all of us here. Most of all, he was so proud of his family and of being Puerto Rican. This is a terrible tragedy and loss, not only for his family, friends, and colleagues, but also for Puerto Rico Neuroscience, for our DPN program, and Neuroscience as a whole. We'll keep you posted regarding further details. There will also be an opportunity to remember Iván in the DPN newsletter. Please remember Iván's family, friends, and colleagues in your thoughts and prayers. Best regards, Andrew T. Austin-Dailey, MDiv Acting Director Minority Fellowship Program American Psychological Association "

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Daniel Alfonso Colón-Ramos's picture

Conoci a Ivan Vidal brevemente durante una visita al laboratorio de Gregory Quirk, donde Ivan trabajaba, el anno pasado. A pesar de que la visita fue breve, tal y como estos mensajes mencionan, Ivan causo una gran imprecion en mi. Su entusiasmo hacia la investigacion, su calor humano y su amor por Ponce y Puerto Rico era tan contagioso como inspirador. Recuerdo haber llamado a mi esposa cuando sali del laboratorio de Gregory Quirk y haberle contado sobre Ivan y su entusiasmo. Asi de mucho me impreciono. A pesar de que no estuvo mucho tiempo con nosotros, Ivan aporto mucho a las ciencias y a Puerto Rico y queremos recalcar sus logros como joven investigador puertoriqueno. Ya nos hemos comunicado con Gregory Quirk, el mentor de Ivan, y su familia para preparar una elogia sobre Ivan para la pagina, algo que celebre la corta pero importante vida. Creo que hago eco de nuestra comunidad cientifica de CienciaPR al expresarle a la familia Vidal y al laboratorio de Gregory Quirk nuestro mas sinceros y sentido pesame. Daniel Colon Ramos Director CienciaPR
Joseph Bonaventura's picture

I join the rest of you in sadness and shock over Ivan's drowning. I knew from one brief but intense meeting. Along with daniel Colon Ramos, who has written of the same meeting, I met Ivan in Greg Quirck's laboratory duting an afternoon visit over a year ago. When Daniel called me Saturday to give me the tragic news, he had to do not reminding me of who Ivan was in the sense that I immediately got a powerful mental image of this enthusiastic young man, excited about his work, neurobiology and loife in general. I invited him to Mayaguez toi talk to our group and this had not happened before his heroic action took his life. his drowning has affected a far wider community than one would expect from his few years on this planet! I feel good that there is a forum to put these few thoughts down and do my own small part to recognize the life of a wonderful person and to mourn for him and celebrate the vitality of Ivan that I observed albeit briefly. I hope that there is an opportunity for a memorial fund to be created at the Ponce School of Medicine. My sincere condolences go to his girl friend and his family who must all be devastated. Joe Bonaventura