My father was a family practice doctor
in Africa. Since I was about seven, I started going with him, and so I always
knew that’s kind of what I was interested in. One of the first few
experiences I had with kids with cancer were children who had brain tumors.
I realized that that not very much research had been done for children with
brain tumors, and so I knew that that was what I wanted to do. Was to try to
make even a little bit of difference for kids who have brain tumors and help improve
therapy. One of the reasons that I came to Children’s was the opportunity to
really do research that impacts our patients directly. When you work with
kids with cancer, you’re doing your medical care for that patient, but it’s
much bigger than that. You’re really taking care of the entire family unit.
To me that was really gratifying. One of the things that I learned early on
was that you really have to listen to the families and try to understand where
they’re coming from, and understand what their fears are. And then try to figure
out what answers you have for those specific fears. Being here at Children’s…
that makes my job a little bit easier in that I can offer patients a lot. And so
a lot of the time it’s listening to them, understanding what their fears are,
and then helping them to come up with solutions for those particular fears.