I am Keats as you are: one man’s journey to final enlightenment. Glenn Peirson died much too soon, stricken by a fast-spreading sinus cancer and leaving our world in November 2009 at 44. Glenn, as a friend described him, was a true Renaissance man, a man of compassion, intellect and deep passion. His battle with The Beast extended for three torturous, draining years. It killed Glenn Peirson, but it did not defeat him. As he wrote to his friends and family just prior to his death: “We are always open to your questions, concerns, gestures and good-will. We are, as always, allergic to pity and despair.” Peirson’s battle with cancer lies at the heart of this book, a mixed reference to the Romantic poet John Keats and the Beatles. I am Keats as you are is a compilation of Peirson’s own poetry and the hundreds of letters he sent to family and friends over the course of his struggle with cancer. This is a powerful, passionate, highly personal book about a view of the world. It invites the reader into an exploration and provides insights garnered along a brief, beautiful, fully-walked path.
Glenn Peirson walked boldly and compassionately in this world, blazing new pathways, dreaming new dreams into being, and maintaining beautiful relationships. The complications of cancer treatment suddenly claimed him in November, 2009, after a three year heroic battle. Glenn was a scholar, athlete, musician, spiritual giant, poet, gardener and great lover of the Land of Narnia. Before he completed secondary school, he was admitted on scholarship to the University of Guelph. During this time he was tenor soloist at Metropolitan United Church in Toronto. He received research grants, in particular, an NSERC grant in brain laterality and music. He was the Winegard Gold-Medalist at his convocation. Glenn then studied at McMaster Medical School. During medical school and residency, he sang with the celebrated Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra’s Chamber Choir, Toronto. Glenn also created practicums that took him to Moose Factory and James Bay, to Kapsowar in Kenya, and to St. Oswald’s Hospice in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in England. He and Mary Beingessner, who had studied at University of Toronto Medical School, met in residency. They married in 1991, in their final year of residency and while Glenn was Chief Resident. In 1992, they spent two months in Malaysia, running a preventative medicine research project they had designed. Glenn and Mary moved to Guelph in 1994. Mary established her career in public health medicine. Glenn worked as a palliative care physician, a community health centre physician and, in 1999, established a private practice in Cambridge, near Guelph. He was also the Addictions physician at Stonehenge Therapeutic Community. He maximized a life-style that included time for his highly cherished home-life, his music, his faith and finally his writing. He was a founding member of Tactus Vocal Ensemble, and a wine and spa writer for North American Inns magazine.