Coming Full Circle
Student Receives National Scholarship Award for Research Conducted in CHORI's Summer Research Program
Sacramento State junior and 2007 CHORI Summer Research Program participant Christopher Cox is not your typical pre-med student, though adjectives like committed, dedicated, persistent and responsible – all of which have been used to describe Mr. Cox – could be applied to many a would-be MD. What makes Mr. Cox unique, however, is that he found his way to CHORI’s research program through an unusual avenue: He called his old doctor to find out if he knew of any research opportunities in the cancer field.
“When he was about ten years old, Chris was diagnosed with leukemia, and he was treated here at CHRCO by our own James Feusner,” explains CHORI scientist Julie Saba, MD, PhD, who served as Mr. Cox’s mentor last summer, and hopes to do so again this coming one as well. “It was Dr. Feusner who got Chris connected with the program.”After Mr. Cox's successful treatment with James Feusner, MD, now the director of oncology, Mr. Cox had gratefully returned to the business of living and gone on to tackle other things besides cancer.
"I eventually got a degree in business and I'd started my own business, as well," says Mr. Cox, "but after a while I just decided it wasn't where my heart was."Instead, Mr. Cox found it in the idea of medical school, enrolling at Sacramento State as a pre-med student, and coming full circle back to CHRCO, not as cancer patient, but as a budding cancer researcher.
"We're all working at the signaling and cellular levels and here we have someone who is walking around as the result of people's research efforts from years ago."
CHORI is pleased to announce, in fact, that Dr. Saba is not alone in finding inspiration in Mr. Cox's return to the world of cancer in this capacity. Working Against Cancer, a national organization that aims to assist young cancer survivors move beyond their experience with cancer to lead productive and fulfilled lives, has just awarded Mr. Cox one of only 5 highly competitive scholarships to help him achieve his academic and career goals.
"The essential idea behind the scholarship is to help cancer survivors who are doing something now to benefit others who are currently fighting cancer," says Mr. Cox.
Mr. Cox certainly fits that bill, and thanks to his experience with CHORI's Summer Research Program, Mr. Cox continues to follow his heart's direction, aspiring to becoming one of tomorrow's most dedicated clinical researchers.
As Mr. Cox says, "The most exciting part of all of this is knowing that at some point when I finally become a doctor, I'll have the opportunity to do research and further the field, to examine ideas that I get from treating patients and to create better treatments as a result."
Tuesday, May 17, 2011 8:19 AM