Selma Ruth Schimmel died on May 21, 2014 from malignant psoas syndrome, a complication of the ovarian cancer, for which she was being treated. Schimmel, 59, died at Providence Tarzana Medical Center near her home in Los Angeles.

In 1983, after she learned of her diagnosis of breast cancer, she founded Vital Options to provide emotional and psychosocial support to young adults with cancer.

Schimmel produced hundreds of educational radio and video shows for the patient community as part of The Group Room. In 1999 Talkers Magazine named her one of the 100 most important radio talk-show hosts in America.

Her book, “Cancer Talk: Voices of Hope and Endurance from The Group Room, the World’s Largest Cancer Support Group,” was published in 1999 by Broadway Books, a division of Random House. The book was translated to Chinese. In 2000 Vital Options officially became an international charity based out of the American Hospital of Paris and run by Claude-Alain Planchon under the name Choix Vital.