Every now and then you hear a story–a true story, that grabs your heart along with your attention and your mind, all at the same time. Jack Andraka, normal fifteen-year-old turned pancreatic cancer researcher, told a story that did just that to me.
Jack, like many curious and, as he puts it, overly optimistic teens, used the tragedy of his uncle’s death to pancreatic cancer, to put in hundreds to thousands of hours of research to search for a cure to this terrible disease that takes so many lives yearly. What one persistent person, in this case a teen without a drivers license and without benefit of a powerful network, was able to achieve, is amazing.
Here are some things I learned in listening to Jack’s powerful story:
- You can start on your path to achieve something bigger than yourself this year, right this minute, in fact.
- Pick something that is more complex as that will stop 90% (I’m being generous) of others out there who will not “go the distance” needed.
- You don’t have to have anyone helping you at the beginning.
- You only need one champion or sponsor to help you. Just start by looking for one.
- Use the power of the web. The internet, according to Jack, Google and Wikipedia, a “teen’s best friend,” can help you every step along the way and that is free.
- As Winston Churchill so aptly directed to school students on October 29, 1941, when he was asked how a person can be successful to” never give in, never give in, never; no matter what, even with matters great or small or large and petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. “
Finally, according to Jack, “If a fifteen year old can find a way to attack pancreatic cancer, imagine what you can do.”