It is with great sadness that the Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) announces the death of Pat Placzek, a graduate student enrolled in the Master in Environmental Studies program. On June 16, just eight days shy of his 35th birthday, Pat died after battling an aggressive form of leukemia. A beloved member of FES community, Pat is remembered not only as a dedicated, passionate student but a warm and generous spirit.
In 2012, the Vancouver native came to Toronto to study at York University He was very committed to social justice for Indigenous people in Canada and had just embarked on his major research on planning for Indigenous reserves when he had to take leave. Long-time friend, Anique Ross, remembers Pat’s interest in planning as part of who he was; “Pat’s always been someone with a lot of diverse interests. He’s always been interested in how things work, how cities work. He would have loved to start doing some work in urban planning in a small town”.
For Pat, life was about bringing people together for the betterment of all, even in the most difficult times. A few months ago, Pat acknowledged the support he received from family, friends and all those that donated to help him receive a clinical trial in the US; “I feel fortunate to have so much support from friends and family, and I’m shocked and touched by the generosity of strangers. Despite life being tough, all this human kindness helps me fight for the positive things in life; the beautiful things in life. Each one of us can try to do our best to be a better person, but in the end we can’t do it alone. I feel we need each other, and you have all taught me this” Sadly, he died before he could begin this trial.
The Placzek family and friends will be honoring Pat with a wake and life celebration on June 23 at the Anza Club in Vancouver, BC. The event will begin at 5pm and will continue until the stroke of midnight on June 24, where family and friends will share a special moment to honour his birthday. More details on this celebration are available online
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to be made in Pat’s name to the BC Cancer Society.
The York University flags were lowered to half-mast today (Tuesday, June 23) and will remain at half-mast until 1pm on Wednesday, June 24 in Pat’s honour and memory.