Princeton University community mourns death of student who battled a rare cancer

Princeton University student Jacob Kaplan died Dec. 24 after battling a rare and aggressive form of cancer for several months. He was 21.

Kaplan had been receiving care for angiosarcoma at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

Students, staff members and alumni of Princeton University rallied around Kaplan after he was diagnosed with stage 4 angiosarcoma in Apri, just three days after he turned 21. Students held fundraisers, and a GoFundMe campaign raised more than $130,000 to cover expenses for cancer treatments that were not covered by insurance.

“On the evening of December 24th, 2017 the world lost the most amazing person we have ever known. He was our best friend and son and brother,” Kaplan’s family wrote on his GoFundMe page. “Jacob Kaplan was so kind and so funny. He could make anyone laugh and he made us laugh harder than anyone else we have ever known. We will never forget him. He was loved by so many. We are not sure how life can be so unfair. He had so much potential to make the world a better place.”

A computer science major, Kaplan was a former co-captain of the club baseball team at Princeton and a member of Quadrangle Club. He was also part of the Chabad community and the Center for Jewish Life-Princeton Hillel.

Kaplan hoped to beat the cancer so he could return to Princeton and finish his bachelor’s degree. In an interview with Jessica Li of the Tab, he expressed his gratitude for the support he received from the Princeton University community.  “It has been amazing to feel the support and love pour from family, friends, and strangers who’ve banded together to help me get treatment,” he told the Tab. “I found myself crying seeing the sheer amount of support.”

Kaplan is survived by his parents, Robyn and Mike, and sister Shelby. Funeral services will be held at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 28, at the Mount Sinai Memorial Park in Simi Valley, California. A campus memorial is being planned, and university officials said more details will be announced at a later date. Memorial donations may be made to the nonprofit Angiosarcoma Awareness.