Michael Welch was a professional musician and dancer until his mid-20s.
“Then I had a pretty gnarly, high-speed biking accident that put me in a wheelchair,” says Welch, who spent two months in a hospital recovering from his injuries.
“I was inspired by the medicine that was happening around me, so I chose to go into medicine,” he says.
And Welch applied to Rush Medical College.
“During the interview process and the application process, I really didn’t bring up my disability, and neither did anybody that was interviewing me,” says Welch, now a student at Rush. “It was great to have that level of respect for my independence.”
After he arrived on campus, Rush helped him get a standing wheelchair that enabled him to participate in cadaver dissection.
“They helped me get the funding for it, and to acquire it,” he says, “and elevated me, quite literally, to the level of my peers to make the curriculum entirely accessible to me.”
A “shavee” at Rush’s 2013 event to raise money for pediatric cancer research. The 2014 event is scheduled for Feb. 28.
By Joseph Lee
In the United States, a child under the age of 20 is diagnosed with cancer every three minutes. So in the time it takes to read this piece, a family will be faced with the very real possibility of losing their child, as there are many cancers where progress towards a cure is still very limited. And even those that are cured of their cancer, their battle continues with chronic health problems or other life-threatening conditions.
While the government and foundations continue to invest in adult cancer research, childhood cancers are left to fend for themselves. In fact, all types of childhood cancers receive only 4 percent of the total U.S. federal funding for cancer research, with pharmaceutical companies investing even less.
So the question becomes if not us, then who? If not now, then when? Should we wait until more children are stripped of the opportunity to go to school or fall in love? Or ask more parents to stay strong while their children go through grueling treatments or are lost altogether?
This is where St. Baldrick’s comes into play. Through the help of dedicated physicians, such as Dr. Paul Kent, students, families, friends, patients and survivors, we seek to close the funding gap. Through events across the country, with head shaving being the premier event, over $30 million was raised in 2013.
First-year Rush Medical College student Joe Santamaria met up recently with Rush University Medical Center CEO Larry Goodman, MD, for a conversation in the Brennan Entry Pavilion. In the interview, Goodman reflects on his time in medical school and the career path to hospital leadership.
“I never would have thought I would be doing anything other than practicing my entire career,” he says.
With a camera strapped to his head, fourth-year Rush Medical College student Peter Peloquin teamed up with Rush videographer Jason Chiou to record classmates’ reactions on Match Day last week, when they learned where they will serve their residencies.
This is the second in a series of videos featuring Joe Santamaria, a first-year medical student at Rush University. We’ll be checking in on him and sharing video updates throughout the school year.