Saturday, January 12, 2008
It is with great sadness that I speak of Sir Edmund Hillary's death. I have always respected this man. He Climbed to the Zenith of Mt Everest. He did what few dared to do. He saw conventional wisdom and he laughed in its face. But what was great about Sir Edmund was not that he climbed the mountain. No, No. What made him great was that he climbed down the mountain, giving back to his people, caring for the people of Nepal: setting up schools, educating the locals, raising the standard of living for those who helped him the most.
While I was covering the NEJM article on Friday, Sir Edmund passed away. He was most noted for climbing Everest and reaching the zenith 7 times. More than any other non-Sherpa. Hillary loved his Sherpas so much that he went to Nepal more than 120 times. He set up hospitals, health clinics, airfields and schools.
The reason he loved his Sherpas was simply because he knew how good hearted and caring they were as a people.
I feel that Sir Edmund and Tenzing Norgay's relationship is an analogy for Medicine and the Gene Sherpas all over the world. The feat to climb the mountain known as personalized medicine with its lofty goals of genetic and genomic health for everyone will require just as much planning and care and partnership. Once we get to the top (Yes a true feat) the work is not finished, we must plan for what the next steps will be. We must give back to those who got us there. We must give to those who will get us there again hopefully 6 more times.
The Sherpa Says:
We must be prepared to educate, to heal, to build infrastructure, and to dedicate our lives to nurturing this dream known as Genomic Healthcare/Personalized Medicine. You see, our job as Sherpas is to get Medicine to that dream. But our job doesn't stop there! Many Thanks to Jonathan Freed for reminding me of this everyday.