This is not easy for me to write

Three years ago at Rollercon I found I couldn’t walk to and from the exhibit area without having to stop to rest.  I just attributed it to getting old.

When I returned home, it was time for my annual physical checkup,  and after running the usual tests Dr. Mishra suggested I see a pulmonologist, and he set up an appointment with Dr. Massoumi.  After a thorough examination it was determined I had pulmonary fibrosis; I was shocked, I have never smoked in my life, and allergy tests could find no really source, so I have ideapathic (meaning they don’t know why) pulmonary fibrosis.  My immune system thinks my lungs are being attacked, so it is shutting down the openings that let the good stuff in and the bad stuff out.  My lungs are operating at far less than they should….a thorough examination at UCSF Medical Center in San Francisco confirmed the diagnosis.

There is no cure for the disease.  I am on oxygen 24/7 and the amount I need is increasing; luckily there are portable units so deliver it.  I have been taking a “miracle” drug Ofav, which while it doesn’t cure, it is supposed to slow the disease.  I take two pills a day, at the cost of $157 each (or about $9500 a month) which luckily is covered by Medicare and a grant.

At my last visit to Dr Massoumi a few weeks ago my weight was down to about 145 pounds, reflecting a loss of about 50 plus pounds…..I have to force myself to eat.  Tests results reflected what was happening, and I asked if I should assume I am in my last year.  He said that probably would be a good idea.

With the help of my family and others, I have been getting all in order.

I am not changing my behavior at all.  I won’t dwell on this and have no fear of death.  I will continue to try and help others as well as remain my usual personna on social media.  I love all my friends and will try to keep it interesting for you, but my main objective as always is to reflect my personal feelings at the particular moment I am writing.

I am in no pain and just have to be aware of the low oxygen level of my blood, and how to keep it raised.  Eventually the complete oxygen starvation will occur.  Lungs transplant are out of the question, and there is no stem cell treatment.

I have had a great and interesting life (check out posts on, see promoting always), and love my family, children and grandchildren, and the others who have brought me to this point.

Do not feel sorry.  Please do not avoid me; that would be terrible.  But don’t expect me to be anyone different.

Just thought you would like to know the facts.

27 comments on “This is not easy for me to write

  1. I have no words that can adequately express my sorrow to hear this news, Jerry. You are, and your family will always be, the soul of what Roller Derby is. Nobody can, or will, ever take that away from the Seltzer family.

    Cherish these days. Love openly. Be strong. And know that when that day comes, there will be many, many of us who will carry on your message and your father’s game. Thank you for everything, Jerry. Much love to you and your family.

  2. Jerry I and so many love you dearly. You have been such a kind friend and mentor. I am so sad. Just know you have made such a difference in so many lives and so many love you.

    • I am one of those people who can honestly say that I felt seen and supported by you throughout my roller derby career. You met my (now) wife via FaceTime at that RollerCon 3 years ago. You supported us when I broke my back. I am sorry that this is happening, and I wish you nothing but comfort. Thank you for being a friend, Commish.

  3. You are a good man, Jerry, and we love you. Facing mortality is one of the hardest lessons we learn, and you, like my dad, are providing a good example. God bless you, my friend.

  4. Crushing news, Jerry–all the more painful because you delivered it with the courage, warmth, confidence, poise, and serenity that cause so many of us to love you.

  5. Thanks for sharing your story with courage and grace. We love you so much and are right here with you in airspace, cyberspace, heart and mind. Thank you for all you have done in your life. You have made such a difference. Much appreciation and love,

  6. Very sorry to hear this dear friend. I was thinking about writing you this afternoon and see now I was just tapping into your energy it took for you to write.

    I happy to be helpful to you in any way.

    May a 1000 unexpected blessings come your way. George and Linda

  7. Jerry, you will always be a part of my life – those were good years in Oakland (Kaiser Center & Ordway). I’ll never forget all your expert and well thought-out planning to set up those games and the commercials at KTVU. I will care for you all your life, and look forward to your next “rant” about the world activities. Keep on, and may the good Lord bless you forever. Betsy (Darden) Hunter

  8. We love you, Jerry. I look forward to the day when I join you heaven where you, me and Bill Graham will all meet again together backstage while Janis and Jimi perform for our benefit 🙂

  9. Our dearest Jerry
    I am sending out all the positive power that I can mustard up in hopes that you keep your positive attitude. I think back of all the great times I’ve had involving you and your family. We had a great life and will have a lot more I’m sure as I feel positive then we will keep rolling. We send our love to you and if there’s anything you’d like to touch base on always feel free to give any of my family a call. I know you’re very busy and I won’t take up much of your time except to say we send you hugs and love.
    Always you are Atkinson Family.

  10. This hurts my soul. I love you, Jerry and you have done so many things for me in the past to lift me up, whether it was financial or simply emotional. I wish there was something I could do for you to make this better for you, as you have for me time and time again.
    As always, I am here for you and will be there for you as well, should you need it.

  11. Dear Jerry, I may not have always agreed with you,but you always made me think before speaking. You made me a better person. My Mom & Pop thought the world of you and your dad. I have to tell you they were right! take care, Bob

  12. Dear Jerry,
    Do not give up! I don’t know what your beliefs are on Christianity, but now is a good time to revisit it. Most of the Christian world has unshakeable faith when it comes to Gods will for us to be saved and spend eternity with him in heaven. However many do not believe that same sacrifice on the cross also obtained for us divine healing. It is as much Gods will to be healed as it is for us to be saved. My prayer for you is that you will search the scriptures for yourself and see the truth of what I have spoken. In the name of Jesus, I rebuke that disease and speak divine health and restoration to you. Jesus loves you and wants you well!

  13. Jerry, I am utterly heartbroken to hear this news, yet I am also incredibly grateful for the bits of time and chats we personally had/have together.
    You are such an incredible man, NOT just because of roller derby, but because you have a light shining in you like no other. For example, your candid nature and easy laugh are just two of the million things that make you as special as you are. Then (with no lessening of importance), there’s your wonderful, intelligent, thoughtful and well-spoken writings, which serve not just as something for people to read, but also perhaps as a way to express feelings which, at times, there are just no words for.
    Those who can literally read between the lines feel exactly what you’ve intended us to feel, whether it’s joy, sorrow, frustration, love, anger, happiness, or hurt. This is a wonderful gift which you’ve chosen to share with the world, and we are ever grateful for it. Personally speaking, I can honestly say that getting to know you, even if for such a relatively short time has enriched my life, and also imparted to me something special which I will carry with me always.

    Much love and light to you my dear friend, we will speak again soon ❤

  14. I have been reminiscing about the Seltzer Family and am so grateful to find you today. Reading the blog makes me happy to hear your stories. Some spark memories of events and people in my formative years in Oakland. (My first concert was Montrose ” Bad Motor Scooter” too,haha) Thank you for all your kindness back then. You are still famous and fun and may your days be full of joy! You have had a place in my heart always. LOVE

  15. I knew there were issues, sorry to hear it’s progressed so much. But that’s how things go, and I’m glad you have a good outlook on all of it. I’m not sure if you read this, but I’d like you to know that I respect what you’ve done to progress the sport of roller derby. I only got seriously involved a few years ago when the Rohnert Park team asked me to help with the rebuild, and I’ve been learning ever since. Including reading your material, and finding out that a lot of what the community needs in terms of business, fan focus and marketing are things you’ve been talking about. I see those conversations growing, and with the novelty wearing off people will need to look for solutions to dropping ticket sales. I’ve tried to integrate myself into the community, regularly post to help with management problems and in the foreseeable future I intend to run with what you’ve already been talking about. So no matter how things go, be aware that you’ve made an impact and your ideas are part of an ongoing chain that will be continuing through a lot of us coming into the sport now.

    It was nice getting to meet you before I moved, even if we didn’t have the chance to interact much. I’ll be re-reading what you’ve written I’m sure.

  16. I know exactly what you are going through Jerry. 3 years ago my wife was diagnosed with Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. This also was incurable. She was on oxygen 24/7 just as you are. I will keep you in my prayers Jerry. God bless you 🙏🙏 🙏🙏.

  17. Jerry. My name is Annie Costabile, and I’m a journalist in Chicago writing a story about roller derby. If there is any chance you see this message please contact me at I would love to speak with you about the history of the sport.


  18. God Bless and Prayers
    61 year old Life Long SF Bay Bomber Fan!
    Thank You for All Those Great Memories!

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