My son Alex is flying off to Hong Kong today, halfway across the world on his own, to spend the summer doing a medical research internship at the University of Hong Kong! I have never felt such deep and strong feelings of pride as welled up inside me when we had our goodbye hug. My son must have sensed my emotions as he lifted my new sunglasses that covered my tears of pride, and told me “Thank you, Mom, for your love and all that you’ve done to support me to make this opportunity possible.”
As my fellow parent and friend Kevin O’Connor says to parents, you never forget the feelings you have as a parent on “diagnosis day.” As I walked away from my son, I remembered clearly diagnosis day, when we discovered Alex had a malignant infant eye cancer, and my deep feelings of grief and devastation. Could I ever have imagined that he would someday become a wonderful intelligent young man, full of adventure, motivated to make a difference in this world?
Alex has just completed his junior year at Cornell University taking pre-med classes, working hard in sciences and math, in particular neuroscience. He will have the opportunity to study under one of the leading neuroscientists in the world, Dr. Behnke, at the University of Hong Kong at the Faculty of Medicine in the Department of Anatomy. I have a strong feeling that this is only the beginning of Alex’s accomplishments and he will truly make some inroads towards important discoveries that will make an impact in helping others.
With tears of pride,