Dr Benjamin Angel was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when he was just a few days old, but he never let his diagnosis define him and achieved a remarkable amount throughout his life. His intellect, leadership qualities, wisdom and charm meant he had a great impact on all those he came into contact with.
Benjamin excelled academically. During his gap year he worked first at the ion transport laboratory at the Royal Brompton hospital in London, and subsequently at Rockefeller University, New York. He was interested in the development of a gene therapy treatment for CF, the most common life-threatening inherited genetic defect. His work at the Royal Brompton was published in Nature, while his experimental work at the Rockefeller was published in the Journal of General Physiology. Both were based on research he did when he was only 19. He started to support the work of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust in raising funds for gene therapy, delivering lectures and appearing in a fundraising film.
Benjamin read medicine at Cambridge, and quickly became active in Jewish circles - in the L’Chaim Society and as events officer at the Jewish Society. He was committed to Jewish and Zionist learning and ideology, but most importantly to its practice.
After leaving Cambridge in 2002 he married Louise, whom he had met in London through the Federation of Zionist Youth. He completed his medical studies at the Royal Free and University College Medical School, and qualified as a doctor in 2004. At the Royal Free, he became immensely frustrated with the antiquated systems within the NHS and worked to improve patient care, developing computer-based systems to assist his team. He developed an e-learning system for doctors that won him the undergraduate prize in the UCL/London Business School Entrepreneur Challenge 2004, and he set up a company, ITL Systems, to further the concept.
Benjamin knew his time might be limited, but he never acted that way. He played tennis, loved golf and was an accomplished skier, keen photographer and swimmer. He enjoyed food and cooking; his musical tastes ranged from classical to rock guitar; he had a passion for travel and a love for all things Jewish.
He was an incredibly optimistic person. At the end of 2004, he was critically ill in intensive care, but bounced back against the odds to continue his e-learning project. He inspired everybody he worked with, accomplished virtually any task he set himself and approached life with humour, humanity, kindness and maturity.
In 2005, Benjamin passed away at the age of 26. The Dr Benjamin Angel foundation was created in loving memory of Benjamin, to support educational, medical and Jewish causes in the UK and Israel – areas that were all close to Benjamin’s heart.