July 20, 2023
Glioblastoma Awareness Day – Horner & Shifrin Remembers Paul Wojciechowski
In honor of Glioblastoma Awareness Day, Horner & Shifrin is remembering our colleague and friend Paul Wojciechowski, his impact on the St. Louis community and the tragic loss of this innovator to an aggressive and little-understood disease.
Paul Wojciechowski was born and raised in North St. Louis. He attended the University of Missouri – Rolla (now Missouri S&T) and earned his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1983. Over the course of his 38 years in the industry, Paul held a variety of positions on both the consulting and public works sides of the table. One consistent thread ran through his work: the enhancement of communities through active and multimodal transportation infrastructure.
As an avid cyclist himself, Paul understood the need for communities to have a robust variety of transportation options, running a spectrum from pedestrians on foot, to commuters on bicycles, to motor vehicles of all sizes. His work as a consultant included planning and design of greenways and trails, roadways and streets, on-street bikeways, pedestrian improvements, transit improvements, land-use, and multi-modal transportation integration. Paul believed that a community was only as good as the connections it provided to its residents and visitors, and he worked tirelessly to make those types of connections a reality. His efforts garnered multiple awards over the course of his career, including the 2010 Healthy Active Living Award from Trailnet, a 2009 Distinguished Service Award from the Missouri Bike Federation and the 2006 Distinguished Leadership Award for Professional Planner from the St. Louis American Planning Association.
On February 25, 2022, as he sat at his desk in Horner & Shifrin’s O’Fallon, Missouri office, Paul experienced vision impairments and disorientation for the first time. After a trip to the emergency room and a diagnostic MRI, physicians located a mass on Paul’s brain, Glioblastoma.
Glioblastoma (GBM) is one of the most complex, deadly, and treatment-resistant cancers. With more than 14,490 Americans expected to receive a GBM diagnosis in 2023, GBM accounts for 50.1% of all primary malignant brain tumors. Despite being first identified in the 1920s, there have only been four drugs and one device approved by the FDA specifically for the treatment of GBM; none of these devices have succeeded in significantly extending a patient’s life beyond a few extra months.
Paul had his first surgery in early March 2022, to remove one tumor. A second tumor was located during the surgery. He endured six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation; despite this, the tumor continued to grow. In early August, Paul traveled to Cleveland, where he underwent another surgery. More than 90% of the tumor was removed at that time, and Paul spent five weeks there recovering before returning home in early September. At an MRI appointment in late October, scans showed that the tumor had grown back. Less than two months later, Paul lost his battle with Glioblastoma, only 10 months after the first signs of his disease.
Paul left a lasting impression on the St. Louis region. He served as the Project Manager responsible for the Gateway Bike Plan, a project which included more than 1,100 miles of on-street bikeways and greenways, connecting economic centers, transit facilities and schools in St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Charles County. The goal of this project was to provide for the increased use of bicycles for travel and safety improvements for all users. Although Paul was taken by Glioblastoma in 2022, his legacy lives on through his work. Paul is remembered as an innovative planner and engineer, and an eternal member of the H&S family.
Multiple organizations exist to further research into Glioblastoma, including the National Brain Tumor Society and the Glioblastoma Research Organization. Please visit these websites for more information on how you can help support their valuable work.