Bernie and Bracha Kaplan, at the first Life Raft Group gathering in Boston, Mass., May, 2002. It was a shock to learn that Bernie Kaplan, the “On Again, Off Again” man, lost his fight against GIST. There had been so many scares but each one had been followed by a sigh of relief from his family and friends. But not this time. In the custom of Orthodox Judaism, the funeral service was held within 24 hours after Bernie died early the morning of Sept. 7, 2004. Even though there was little notice, the synagogue on Staten Island, New York, was full of those who loved and respected Bernie. The crowd was a testament to Bernie’s philanthropic endeavors and active role in his community. Bernie is survived by his wife, Bracha, two sons, Noam and Yaron, and two daughters, Talia and Shira Kaplan-Walker. All four of Bernie’s children took the podium. While crying for their Abba (father), they all expressed their love and gratitude. It was obvious that Bernie had set a high standard in his life. Bracha cried out with each hug of condolence. She had seen Bernie through this battle and was utterly shattered by its end. All those who spoke that day paid tribute to Bernie’s activism, his love, his faith and most importantly, his bravery. Bernie held the Life Raft Group close to his heart. He was always ready to help in any way possible. As well as being a board member, Bernie was very active in many other endeavors. He even founded a cancer support group in his home town. He was willing to help anyone who needed him. He will be truly missed.