A Life and Legacy of Purpose: Gail Gutradt's Story

Gail with the children of Wat Opot

Gail with the children of Wat Opot.

Where there is a will there is a way.

Gail Gutradt believed this until the moment she passed away from cancer in February 2016. Even then, she chose to leave a legacy that would benefit people she will never meet: Gail designated The Jackson Laboratory (JAX) as a beneficiary of her estate to support the work of cancer researcher and friend, Carol Bult, Ph.D. the holder of The Knowlton Family Chair at JAX.

This extraordinary gift of was an extension of Gail’s ability to lead a life of purpose. Hailing from Mount Desert Island, Maine, she was a businesswoman, author and humanitarian who refused to let her 2008 breast cancer diagnosis stop her in her tracks. Gail resolved to live fully, and beyond her professional and literary pursuits, dedicated herself to volunteering in Cambodia at the Wat Opot Children’s Community. There she helped children orphaned by AIDS, and raised awareness through her published stories, articles and poems of her experiences.

Gail Gutradt provided for her loved ones in her will, and committed to the causes she held most dear. She respected the important research of her friend and JAX scientist Carol Bult, and the passion she brought to it. Carol’s commitment to finding a cure for cancer was a natural extension of Gail’s desire to help others, even if it was beyond her own lifetime.

Gail Gutradt“Gail and I met and became friends through meditation practice at True Nature Zen Center in Bar Harbor. What I will also remember about Gail is her deep compassion for others and that she embraced life fully, even the uncomfortable parts. She was able to see beauty and hope in conditions and situations that most of us would view with despair. Her gift to my research program will allow me to continue Gail’s legacy of living to benefit others. The one thing I will never say about Gail is that she ‘lost her battle with cancer.’ She rejected that imagery completely. She lived with cancer with courage and grace.”

—Carol Bult, Ph.D., The Knowlton Family Chair