May 1, 2020
Dr. David Fajgenbaum has been so close to death that Last Rites have performed—five times. While in medical school, David became critically ill with idiopathic multicentric Castleman disease. This is his story and his work.
He is one the top one-percent youngest grant awardees of a leading NIH grant. He is also Founding Director of the Center for Study and Treatment of Castleman Disease, cofounder of the Actively Moving Forward Support Network (a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting grieving college students), and co-founder and Executive Director of the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network.
He’s the author of two books, “We Get It: Voices of Grieving College Students and Young Adults,” a unique collection of 33 narratives by bereaved students and young adults. And more recently “Chasing My Cure: A Doctor’s Race to Turn Hope Into Action.”
In this episode well discus his subsequent pioneering work with this disease, as well as his personal experiences as a physician, patient, and research scientist, and, as of, late using a similar approach that he’s used in Castleman disease research and treatment and applying it to COVID-19 treatment possibilities.
“Chasing My Cure: A Doctor’s Race to Turn Hope Into Action” has been described by New York Times bestselling authors like Adam Grant as “An extraordinary memoir . . . It belongs with Atul Gawande’s writings” and Angela Duckworth called it “A page-turning chronicle of living, nearly dying, and discovering what it really means to be invincible in hope” along with other notable endorsements from amazing people like Andrew Weil and a Nobel Prize winner in Medicine.
To paraphrase from his book:
“Each of us has challenges we’re facing. Our own Castleman Disease or thing you’re hoping for or passionate about that motivates and inspires you. We all have the tools, though some may need sharpening, to chase after even solve these problems. Start doing it. Start small. Do something. My greatest regrets on my deathbed were actions I didn’t take. Make every second count, because the truth is we’re all in overtime.”
David is an inspiration in so many ways—scientist, physician, humanitarian, and human being. It was an honor to spend time with him, and I hope you will enjoy this episode. He is the preeminent role model for living a life in full.