First, who is this medical resident?
Dan Tran is a resident at Virginia Commonwealth University. Dan was diagnosed with lung cancer at age 30 during his second year of medical residency as an oral surgeon. It started out with back pain and numbness in his legs. When an MRI showed a tumor on his spine, Dan knew it was serious, but nothing prepared him for the unexpected diagnosis of advanced lung cancer. Dan was a health-conscious, non-smoker, just embarking on a hard-earned career. Following surgery to remove his tumor, Dan received treatment that targeted a specific mutation that was driving his cancer growth.
Second, where does the snow come in?
After Dan had surgery, a snow storm came through his Virginia community laying down two to three feet of snow and covering his driveway. He planned to go back to work but there was no way he was going to be able to shovel his drive. He called the office to say he wasn’t going to be able to make it. In less than an hour, doctors, nurses, and other staff were at his home, shoveling his drive.
We might be tempted to think they just really needed Dan to take his shift! But, their kindness didn’t end there. They began bringing meals, checking on him daily, and came over for holidays.
The kindness of that busy staff raised the positivity of the entire residency program.
How this relates to Jesus
One of Jesus’ most familiar interactions is in a story he told about people doing the very kind of things Dan’s colleagues did for him. There was a king in this story and Jesus blessed these people for showing the king kindness in small ways. They responded by saying, “When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
To this day, we have positive, thankful responses when we see these same kinds of micro-actions of kindness demonstrated in everyday situations like Dan’s.
Third, what happened to Dan?
Dan is now back to work and is bringing kindness to the doctor’s office and other cancer survivors. He has a whole new perspective on what it’s like to be on the other side of the stethoscope. The experience taught the young father that life isn’t guaranteed, and we could all benefit from a dose of kindness. He’s also advocating for other patients like him so they know they aren’t alone. You can follow Dan’s journey at danfightscancer.com.
Fourth, hear Dan tell his own story on the NPR Kindness Podcast.
NPR affiliate, WOUB, hosts the NPR Kindness Podcast. You can hear Dan’s story here.
Kindness has the power to transform a mundane, passionless life, but it also has the ability to re-route a single bad day. The Host of the Kindness Podcast, Nicole Phillips, talks with people who share their uplifting stories.
In His Name, Pastor Neal
Our staff is voluntold each week and with grace they share their thoughts.