David Fajgenbaum is an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the associate director for the Orphan Disease Center.  He is also cofounder and executive director of the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network and the cofounder of the National Students of Ailing Mothers and Fathers Support Network. He has received numerous awards including the Forbes “30 Under 30” for healthcare and the RARE Champion of Hope Award for science.  His memoir is titled Chasing My Cure: A Doctor’s Race to Turn Hope into Action.

 

Some interesting insights from this episode:

  • David has a hyperfocus variant of ADHD which allows him to focus for hours upon hours on a topic which has enabled much of his success.
  • The way he started living life with no regrets was through his new mantra: “Think it, do it”. If he thinks about doing something and it’s really important, he doesn’t over think it like he used to.  He just does it.
  • He was able to see humor even in the most dire of circumstances. “I came to understand that in no situation other than facing death is a sense of humor more necessary. Humor made me look my suffering in the eye and laugh at it. Facing my horrible moments with laughter was just as fundamentally a rejection of Castleman’s dominion over me as anything else I was doing.”
  • We still have a long way to go. 95% of the 7,000 rare diseases that affect 30 million Americans don’t have a single FDA approved therapy.
  • Either you’re hopeful and you wait for that thing you’re hoping for to become reality or you’re very action oriented and you take matters into your own hands. He has learned to turn hope into action.
  • Don’t just sit back and wait for the silver linings to appear but what can you do to create the silver linings. It’s up to you to make some positive out of something terrible.
  • “I consider myself to be very fortunate. My experience has liberated me to follow my passions and has given me peace, knowing that I’m making the most of every day while my clock is ticking.”
  • “Excellence is doing exactly what you feel driven to do to the absolute best of your ability.”

 

Show Notes:

Book: Chasing My Cure

Castleman Disease Collaborative Network

University of Pennsylvania bio page

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