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George Kolasa, Beloved Fashion Marketing Executive and Cancer Advocate, Has Died at 57

George Kolasa lost his fight with Glioblastoma, a rare form of brain cancer, on August 9, 2023, at 57. A post on his Instagram account confirmed his passing: “He left as he lived—in peace, love, light, gratitude, and with Justin [his husband] by his side.”

Last November George shared the story of his diagnosis and his subsequent efforts to raise funds for rare cancer research. We’re republishing his words here.

It was March of 2022 when George Kolasa shared his cancer diagnosis on Instagram. Previously, the marketing and communications executive and 30-year veteran of the fashion industry had enjoyed posting pics of the East Hampton farmhouse he shares with his husband Justin Tarquinio, his vegetable garden, and their black labrador Charlie. But as he says, “cancer changes everything.”

George was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme, a rare brain cancer, in February. He had a tumor the size of a grapefruit removed, but two smaller tumors that remained inoperable meant he spent the spring undergoing six straight weeks of daily chemotherapy and radiation. He shared everything—the good, the bad, and the sometimes ugly—and soon his candid posts drew the attention of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s social team. He took over the hospital’s account in May, which is Brain Cancer Awareness Month, and also participated in Cycle For Survival, a foundation run by MSK and partnered with Equinox that has raised over $300 million for rare cancer research and clinical trials so far.

Today, George’s tumors are stable, but they affect his cognition. He depends on Justin to fact-check details about the past eight months, to keep him in touch with friends, and to help with his fundraising efforts. Tapping into his decades of campaign building with Burberry, Giorgio Armani, Tommy Hilfiger, and Ralph Lauren, George has set an ambitious goal to raise $1 million with Cycle For Survival. The next races are in April and May of 2023. If each of his 10K-plus followers donate or raise $100, he won’t just meet that goal, he’ll surpass it. These are George’s words.

At a Cycle for Survival ride, in New York.Photo: Courtesy of George Kolasa



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