We see it in the media after natural disasters or school shootings: communities come together after tragedy. And we watch from the outside, perhaps with a bit of guilt-tinged relief or gratitude that it didn’t happen to us.
As a pediatric oncologist, I see this often. When kids are diagnosed as having cancer, whole families, whole schools, whole communities (and even beyond) feel the impact. It is not uncommon for towns to organize local fund-raisers for patients’ treatment costs or relevant research. Our patients become prom royalty, honorary sports team captains, speakers at graduation. Perhaps they would have been these things anyway, but I suspect there are additional elements of community support, solidarity, and awe behind their nominations.
Rosenberg AR. Close to Home. JAMA Pediatr. 2015;169(3):206. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.3449