Dr. Ben Carson (1951- Present)
Carson was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. His mother had dropped out of school in the 3rd grade and gotten married when she was 13. She and his father divorced when Carson was only 8 years old, and so he was then raised by his single mother. In his early years, he struggled in school and by the time he was in 5th grade had a violent and uncontrollable temper. His mother was determined to help him turn his life around.
She began to limit his exposure to television and also required him to read two books a week and turn in written reports to her, even though she herself couldn’t read them. Little did she know it, but his mother had ignited a new found thirst for knowledge in Ben. By the time Carson reached middle & high school he began to really excel academically and eventually graduated from high school with honors. After his graduation he attended Yale University where he earned a degree in Psychology. After Yale, Carson attended the University of Michigan Medical School. Once he graduated from medical school he moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where he became a neurosurgery resident at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Carson’s achievements at the hospital are numerous. When he was 32, he became the hospital’s youngest major division director, as Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery. He also performed the first intrauterine procedure to relieve pressure on the brain of a hydrocephalic fetal twin, and a hemispherectomy, in which he removed one half of a girls brain in order to stop her seizures.
Perhaps his most famous achievement came in 1987, when he became the first surgeon to ever successfully separate Siamese twins, who were conjoined at the head. It took Carson a 70-person medical team and 22 hours, but he was able to successfully complete the surgery which allowed both twins to live independently. For his achievements over the years Carson has been the recipient of countless awards and honors. His most notable, however, came in 2008 when he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States.
Ben Carson shows us the amazing things someone can achieve with a thirst for knowledge and a strong work ethic. He is a pioneer for modern medicine and continues to help hundreds of people each year. We also shouldn’t forget the contributions of his mother, who despite her hardships, inspired Ben Carson to believe in himself not give up on school. (Now that I think about it, I probably should have made this post on Mother’s Day).
“Success is determined not by whether or not you face obstacles, but by your reaction to them. And if you look at these obstacles as a containing fence, they become your excuse for failure. If you look at them as a hurdle, each one strengthens you for the next.”