I trace my dedication to our battle against cancer to that day when I learned that my closest friend from medical school back home in India had been diagnosed with a mediastinal tumor and was undergoing chemotherapy. At first, I was in shock and disbelief and soon visited him in a hospital in New Delhi. I still remember his face's poised and serene look: courage and fortitude mixed with resignation. The whole time I was wondering what must be going through his mind? He told me how it started as an annoying cough, initially thought to be tuberculosis but eventually turned out to be poorly differentiated carcinoma. He underwent several cycles of chemotherapy, complete with the great suffering entailed, only to find out that the mass was chemo resistant. Nevertheless, he remained hopeful.
One week after I had returned to the USA, I got a phone call and was told that he had passed away. It was hard to believe and accept that he would have to go at such a young age. This experience was the beginning of my total immersion in hematology/oncology, setting me on course for where I am now, hoping to be selected for your distinguished fellowship program. Furthermore, later that same year, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent chemotherapy for more than a year. I took care of her, and it was painful to see her go through so much anxiety and suffer from the side effects of treatment. My mother is doing very well. I am deeply grateful for all the advances in oncology and to the people who contributed to those advances, as it provides me a chance to see my loved ones live longer and enjoy better health. This experience further cemented my focus on hematology/oncology and my ever-growing desire to help cancer patients and their families.
My experience in the fulfillment of hematology/oncology electives at Saint Vincent Hospital and the University of Massachusetts Medical School as part of my residency training further reinforced my particular passion for fighting cancer. The first-hand opportunity to care for cancer patients enabled me to appreciate how much my heart and soul are invested in this field. I have gained extensive exposure to various patients with a similarly wide variety of cancers; and participated in their management plans - curative, palliative, symptomatic treatment, and surveillance. I have been incredibly fortunate to work with dedicated, compassionate oncologists who were truly inspiring. I have seen them bonding with patients personally and not just as healthcare providers. I love the profound challenge of hematology/oncology and the strength that I draw from the resilience and optimism of cancer patients. Daily, my patients help me to appreciate how strong and courageous human beings can be.. Each day their courage drives me forward to do even better than before.
My exposure to research throughout the course that I took at Harvard - "Principles and Practice of Clinical Research," helped me appreciate the importance of our investment in research. This course was the first professional platform upon which I interacted with a diverse group of participants worldwide. I realized that we all have many things in common, no matter how geographically separated we are. It is important to share resources and strategies, always learning from the challenges faced by each other. During my two years of association with the course - first as a student and then as a teaching assistant - I have learned the importance of collaborative learning, teamwork, and mentorship. I look forward to putting my experience so far to excellent use as I continue to grow and mature, constantly preparing myself for my maximum future contribution to my chosen field. So far, I have participated in writing several Oncology-related abstracts, performance improvement projects, and a project on multiple myeloma. I keenly look forward to continuing to contribute to oncology research in conjunction with my day-to-day work as a clinician.
I hope to be selected for a program with excellent didactics, outstanding faculty, and a diverse patient population, providing me with intensive, cutting-edge training and guidance. I want to push the limits to become a highly accomplished, well-rounded, versatile hematologist/oncologist. After completing my fellowship, I would love to continue to work at your hospital as an attending physician. In addition to treating patients, I could actively contribute to oncology research.
I thank you for considering my application to your program.
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