Monday, February 1, 2010

Sunshine and Inspiration

After months of planning, the staff and I were finally departing for south Florida to bring A Woman's Journey to women in Palm Beach and Naples. When the captain informed us that we would sit on the tarmac for 30 minutes, I turned on my phone and found a message from Lillie Shockney, the scheduled keynote speaker for A Woman's Journey Palm Beach. Lillie had food poisoning and would not make the conference. I looked around at the other passengers and spotted some Hopkins colleagues. By the time we took off, we had invited the new president of the Johns Hopkins University to be a keynote speaker.

Ron Daniels, who had been installed in the fall as JHU's 14 president, was amazing. I am so grateful that he was willing to speak about the university and his self-described walk-abouts throughout Johns Hopkins. In particular, President Daniels described his tour of The Johns Hopkins Hospital operating rooms and the opportunity to witness a Whipple procedure. The Whipple is a surgical procedure that was developed to remove pancreatic and other GI tumors. According to President Daniels, when Johns Hopkins surgeon Dr. John Cameron began his career, the mortality rate from the surgery was nearly 30 percent. Since then Dr. Cameron has worked to improve the Whipple procedure and reduce the mortality rate to nearly 1%. Just days after observing this procedure, President Daniels was diagnosed with a rare type of tumor in the intestine. As we all learned, the tumor was removed through a Whipple procedure. Fortunately, President Daniels' prognosis is excellent.

The presentation was a most inspiring conclusion to a terrific Woman's Journey in Palm Beach. Surely we will return next year. I hope those of you living in south Florida will join us.

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