'Shark Tank' Star Passes from Cancer
- Shark Tank star Andy Thomas, a husband, father, former Marine, and co-founder of Kettle Gryp, passed in December after a battle with cancer.
- The hit show honored him on Friday’s episode.
- When coping with a diagnosis, be sure to care for your mental health, as well as create a plan for financing your cancer treatments. A social worker can help with both.
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Greiner paid tribute to him on Twitter, writing, “Here’s to you Andrew! A true American hero, beloved husband, father & friend to so many. Ur hard work & dedication to @KettleGryp & your partner Daniel will live on. Happy to be partners & to help fulfill ur legacy w/ Kettle Gryp https://lori.gr/3ua7aHC #[email protected]”
Here’s to you Andrew! A true American hero, beloved husband, father & friend to so many. Ur hard work & dedication to @KettleGryp & your partner Daniel will live on. Happy to be partners & to help fulfill ur legacy w/ Kettle Gryp https://t.co/8bOWV881uy #SharkTank @ABCSharkTank pic.twitter.com/upQleltaCe
— Lori Greiner (@LoriGreiner) January 29, 2022
Thomas served as a helicopter pilot for 20 years in the Marines. He was a husband to wife Carolyn Walz, and a father to their son, Rex. Thomas’s invention, Kettle Gryp is an adjustable, portable weight grip for working out when traveling. Thomas won viewers over with his high-energy presentation. He was also the chief executive officer of Pangolin Design Group. As a student, he earned his degree in engineering and construction science at Clemson University.
In reports of his passing, the specific type of cancer Thomas battled was not mentioned, nor was the date of his passing. His wife, Carolyn, confirmed in a post to Facebook that Thomas passed last month, in December 2021. She also asked friends to watch the Shark Tank episode during which he was honored and celebrated. “If you’re so inclined, tune into Shark Tank at 8 pm on ABC this Friday,” she wrote, according to Express.co.uk. “My husband, Andy, and his business partner, Dan, will appear as they try to convince the sharks to invest in the Kettle Gryp.”
Coping with a Cancer Diagnosis
After a diagnosis of cancer, many people experience a great deal of grief, anxiety, and even depression. It’s important to deal with your emotional and mental health, along with your physical health during this time.
Cedars-Sinai’s Dr. Scott Irwin says in an earlier interview that treating mental health can directly impact one’s physical health in a positive way. “Depression is a really interesting topic, because a lot of people assume that, oh, they have cancer. They must be depressed. That’s actually not true,” he says.
“85% of patients do not get what would be considered a clinical depression. 15% do. For prescribing medications for depression in the context of cancer, I often try to choose medications with the lowest side effect profile. If patients are getting hormonal therapy, there’s particular antidepressants that we can’t use, because they may lower the effectiveness of that hormonal therapy,” says Dr. Irwin. “And so we choose antidepressants that don’t impact the cancer care.”
“Depression and stress make it harder to treat cancer, make it harder to tolerate the treatments,” he says. “Actually, there’s data that if you have extra stress or depression that you may not recover or you have a higher risk of recurrence, so that in treating the depression, we’re actually impacting the cancer care outcomes.”
When a Spouse Has Cancer
Thomas was married to his wife, Carolyn, and together they shared a son. When Thomas was diagnosed, it likely affected his relationship with his wife, as they presumably worked together through things like accepting the diagnosis, determining a treatment plan, and figuring out how to pay for the treatment.
Cancer care is costly, and using a social worker to help you and your partner determine how to fund treatment is an effective way to create a roadmap through the cancer journey.
Sarah Stapleton, a licensed clinical social worker at the Montefiore Medical Center, explains in an earlier interview how a social worker can help a couple figure out how to navigate the costs of treatment. She says, “I think of financial concerns are something that continuously come up, especially initially at diagnosis. It’s a fear of whether my insurance will cover something, whether or not their co-pays will be something that I can manage.”
Stapleton continues, “It’s really important kind of when you’re starting treatment to speak with someone, and a social worker is a good place to start. Social workers are generally the person in the clinic that can hook you up with all of the sources that are outside of the medical realm.”