I was fortunate to know Derek Lyman, first as my student in the UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative, then as a the youngest founder in my angel group’s first internet deal, and finally as a friend who went on to mentor so many of my students – and me as well. When you were with Derek, he focused on you intently, drew out your interests, and seeded you with new ideas that blew your mind. A friend recently said "He almost cost me my job more than once… as he helped me find amazing opportunities I would not have seen on my own."
He was ever the innovator. As he fought for his life against cancer he found the existing options unsatisfying… so he came back with a detailed report of flaws in the medical system and cancer treatment… and set out to start solving them. He invented his own science-based therapies that most of us believe let him live far past when the doctors thought he would. That was the kind of guy he was.
He passed away this weekend, just a few weeks past his 28th birthday.
He will be dearly missed.