When people do great things

Let’s leave this week behind on an uplifting note.

Lost among all of the political stories this week was a charming story from MPR’s Lorna Benson on the 40th anniversary of the Bone and Marrow Transplant Program at the University of Minnesota.

The story started with this passage:


Dr. John Kersey was a U of M medical student when his mentor Dr. Robert Good used bone marrow stem cells to successfully treat a 4-month old boy. The baby suffered from a genetic immune system disease that had killed 11 male children in his extended family.

Dr. Good and his team were determined to figure out a way to save the infant, Kersey says.

“Back in those days it was very common for people to say if a child has a very severe disease there’s nothing that can be done about it. And the attitude amongst my colleagues here was, ‘No. We should be trying new things. We should be doing things we can to cure these diseases.’”

It took two transplants, but eventually the baby recovered.

U of M doctors succeeded where others had failed because they focused on getting the best bone marrow match possible for their young patient, Kersey says.

This afternoon, we received this e-mail from Cynthia Olson of Minneapolis:


As I listened to your story about the first bone marrow transplant on a baby at the U of M hospital in 1968, I went flying back in time, to a rocking chair in the nursery with that baby in my arms. I was a nursing student working nights that summer. One night I was charged with caring for that little guy. As I rocked the baby in the quiet darkness a doctor entered the nursery. He told me (playfully) not to drop the baby because this baby was making history. It was so thrilling to hear a forty year old man talking about his life saving procedure. Thanks for the update.

And thanks for the reminder that people can do great things.

  • JohnnyZoom

    Just wanted to say, that was one heckuva story Bob. Thanks for the lift.