Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What heroism looks like

Julie is a hero. SHE doesn't know it. She's plugging along, running on empty, very cranky and tired. But she has a profound sense of duty and an indomitable determination.

Julie is fighting in the trenches, a Private in the war against Cancer.

As an oncology graduate student, she has little control over the strategic response or course of the battle. She must subdue her ego and muster her will every day to face tedious, exacting, frustrating, endless work with unclear results.

She often feels like a forgotten and unattended cog in the Great Machine of Science. And yet, she endures. Mindfully, and despite setbacks and threats of futility, she marches forward every day, and fights the Good Fight.

There is no way to know whether her work will be successful. But heroism isn't about success. Heroism is about facing the difficult, scary, and painful, despite the difficulties, fears, and pain.

Even if her work never leads to a specific advance in our understanding or treatment of Cancer, what she's doing matters. It matters because no war is won without the sacrifice of heroes. And those of us who benefit, owe them our gratitude and support.

Julie is having a tough day today. If you get a chance, please send her a comment of encouragement. Think of it as a letter to a soldier.

(P.S. Kudos to Leah and RivkA's kids, who just fought in this same war, on different fronts.)

2 comments, so far. Add yours now!

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Anonymous said...

In the words of my mom, "You did a mitzvah".

What a nice thing to come "home" to after a stressful week at the lab...a bunch of comments from people who have no responsibility to thank you for your actions, but do so because they are grateful!

Thanks Juggling for allowing me to be a part of it!

EthidiumBromide said...

Wow! I don't even know what to say -- I (finally) wrapped up the never-ending experiment from yesterday and checked my email and had a whole slew of comments on my blog, and so many of them came from your readers. Seriously, thank you. Even if my data doesn't provide any motivation whatsoever, words like this certainly help more than imaginable. Again, truly, thank you.

If you liked this article, congratulations! You have great taste. Please brew yourself a cup of coffee.
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