Saturday, November 2, 2019

Breathing Free

Every once in a while there’s one of those NPR stories that just rock you to your core. This week, this  was the one:

New Hope For Patients Living With Cystic Fibrosis After Scientists Unveil Therapy, an interview with Dr. Francis Collins by Mary Louise Kelly

Dr. Collins, the director of the NIH, is one of the team of doctors who discovered the gene defect that causes cyclic fibrosis thirty years ago. This week a promising therapy was announced that can help ninety percent of patients living with CF. It is truly a major medical breakthrough.

This was the moment in the interview where I almost had to pull the car off of the road.

KELLY: Yeah. I am told that after you first identified the cystic fibrosis gene, you wrote a song.
COLLINS: I did. We sang it this morning, actually.
KELLY: Would you share a tiny bit with us?

COLLINS: Sure. So the song is called "Dare To Dream." And I wrote it at a
time where, yes, we understood what the DNA misspelling was, but we were
a long way from knowing how that could help people therapeutically. And
the chorus is dare to dream, all our brothers and sisters breathing free.

COLLINS: (Singing) All our brothers and sisters breathing free. Unafraid,
our hope's unswayed (ph) until the story of CF is history. Do that one more
So here we have a doctor, a scientist, who has been working on a problem that leads to major human suffering and early death. And what is the first thing he does when a breakthrough occurs?

He writes a song.

What an incredible affirmation of how much music is an innate part of the human spirit. The scientist who is the investigator of complex enigmas, the doctor who is the shaper of innovative healing protocols, is also the artist who is the creator of song.

You cannot convince me that music is not every bit as much a part of what goes into Dr. Collins as his science, math, and medical training. Music and creative expression and the arts education that students receive throughout their school years become interwoven with the other disciplines and are an integral part of learning and human growth.

And we sang that this morning here in Nashville at the major cystic fibrosis meeting. And I had a borrowed guitar and stood up in front of 5,000 people and put the chorus up on the screen. And they stood up, and they sang their hearts out. And it was hard to keep going and not just get choked up. It was a moment.

The arts are not the sprinkles on top on the cake. They are the leavening that allows it to rise.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.