I was very profoundly impacted by the summer I spent at MD Anderson during high school, where I worked in the radiology department. It’s hard not to feel something for the thousands of patients and their families who roll in wheelchairs through the hallways, oxygen tanks in tow, with varying degrees of hope spelled out within their facial expressions. As I walked through MD Anderson everyday and saw patients and their families receiving diagnoses, I had some profound moments where I realized this was something I was truly passionate about. Much of the patient metadata included dates for when treatment began, and right underneath, dates of the patients passing. Seeing these dates pile up over time was an emotional experience for me. Working within the department of radiology and realizing that the images and data that I was working with belonged to real people with real stories was harrowing, yet motivational.
I want to ride for the patients and families at MD Anderson and at cancer treatment centers around the world. Now, as a computer science major who wants to pursue bioinformatics and computational biology, I want to help bring an end to cancer, once and for all. Advances in imaging technology coupled with new techniques in machine learning are expanding the horizons for advancement in the cancer-fighting process, and I remain hopeful that we will see the eradication of cancer within my lifetime. Until that point, however, hope is the best way to combat this heinous disease. My goal within Texas 4000 is to inspire others to help take initiative in the fight against cancer, and to make it clear to everyone affected by cancer that there are people out there who see their struggles, who care, and who want to help actively help make a difference.