Peter McGee Hoffman was a perfect son, a loving and protective brother, a favorite nephew and a loyal and kind friend. Born in New York, he spent the majority of his childhood growing up outside of Philadelphia and then upon entering high school, his family moved to London. He embraced the experience abroad and became an accomplished athlete in high school, particularly excelling at crew and cross-country. Peter was awarded a four-year Presidential scholarship from George Washington University where he earned an engineering degree and graduated in 2007. As a freshman, he joined the Ultimate Frisbee Team at GW and quickly grew to love the sport and his teammates. After graduation, Peter took off on his dream trip to Australia. He had been talking about it for years and saving his money for just as long. While there, he worked for a moving company and at a hostel in Sydney to help pay for all the things he wanted to do, like skydiving, surfing, canyoning and scuba diving.
In August, after seven months in Australia, Peter returned to London for what was to be a brief visit. He had a job and an apartment lined up in DC and his plan was to be back in the city to start “real life”…..at least until he could save up enough to go traveling again which was his plan. Peter’s plan did not come to pass. Toward the end of his time in Australia, Peter had felt an ulcer on his tongue and upon his return to London, got it checked out by his GP, who immediately referred him to a specialist. On August 13th, 2008, Peter was diagnosed with an aggressive form of tongue cancer, which had already spread to the lymph nodes in his neck. He immediately underwent surgery and courses of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, however, Peter’s cancer proved resistant to the treatments and in January, shortly before his 24th birthday, his doctors discovered another tumor in his throat, which led to a second major surgery. While still recuperating from that procedure, the cancer returned a third time in March and Peter learned that it was inoperable. Peter’s quality of life at this point was almost nil since he could no longer eat, drink or speak and the tumor was making even breathing extremely difficult. Peter made the decision to forgo any further treatment, even experimental, realizing that further efforts were futile. The doctors gave him three to six months to live, but Peter passed away shortly thereafter on March 28, 2009, just seven months after his diagnosis. He was 24 years old.
Peter’s death has taken him away from the friends and family who love him, but they are left with 24 years of cherished memories of a most precious and beloved son, brother and friend. Peter was a gentle soul who loved life and lived each day of his short life to the fullest. He will be remembered for his beautiful smile, his confident moral conviction, his kind and compassionate nature and above all, his deep love of family and friends. While the lives of those closest to him will never be the same because of their loss, they know that Peter would want people to learn from his death. Peter would want others to become aware of the warning signs of oral cancer, however small and unimportant they seem, and to address them. Funds donated in Peter McGee Hoffman’s name will advance the goals of the Oral Cancer Foundation – Information, Support, Advocacy, Research and Hope – all crucial tools in the fight against the disease. We must take the spirit in which Peter lived his life, with kindness, generosity and an inquisitive sense of adventure, in our approach to eliminating oral cancer. Thank you for helping us to remember and honor Peter with your donation.