Hello everyone, my name is Brian Harwitt and I have known the Sonnenberg family for over 20 years, since Jake and I started elementary school together at four years old. In those 20 years of friendship with Jake, I have seen from both near and a far, the evolution of Brad. In elementary school, I knew him as the rambunctious child, who helped us cut lines at Disneyland, as we sent him to the front of the line and would tell people that we lost our little brother and conveniently find him in the front of the line. In high school he was the younger brother who began to surpass Jake in both handsomeness and coolness, which Jake did not take well, but eventually accepted.
As we transitioned from high school to college, Brad was the younger brother who we irresponsibly took out drinking in Rome, sorry Glenn and Andrea. He was the life of the party and when I look back on photos of that night, we all had smiles from ear to ear. It was the highlight of the trip and a night we still speak about to this day.
Since graduating college, I was fortunate to spend time with Brad is Aspen, where I saw the introspective genius who was battling physical and mental wars with his body and his mind. He’s knowledge and depth of understanding about the brain and the body far surpassed any friend in medical school, any biotech or pharmaceuticals professional who I often interacted with and once pretended to be myself – Brad quickly sniffed out my mere remedial knowledge. On that trip he was someone I looked forward sitting next to at meals, watching TV shows and movies with and even attempting to get him to smile while I was acting as the Sonnenberg family photographer.
I have looked to every member of the Sonnenberg family as a role model. Whenever I do anything, I ask myself, “what would Jake think if I do this”? He has made me a better person. What I looked up to Brad for was his mastery of a subject. Most people only learn 90%, as the last 10% is the hardest push. Brad conquered that last 10%, and inspired me to push that extra 10% that separates good from great.
When Jake told me of Brad’s passing, I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t. I was looking forward to seeing where he took his rare talents in the next chapter of his life. Everyone here is a testament to how meaningful Brad and the rest of the Sonnenberg family is in their lives. The Sonnenbergs are like family to me and as the weeks, months and years go by I will always keep my memories of Brad with me and always be there to support them. I hope you will all join me in doing so.