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On My Mind
March 2015

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Author Affiliations
  • 1Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle, Washington
  • 2Treuman Katz Center for Pediatric Bioethics, Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Seattle, Washington
  • 3University of Washington, Seattle
JAMA Pediatr. 2015;169(3):206. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.3449

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.

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