Learning to cross his t’s and dot his i’s
The doctors who cared for Marcus Ford’s grandmother impacted his life. Today, the senior biology major at Campbell University is working toward impacting other people’s lives.
Marcus Ford was in the middle of filling out his college applications for UNC-Chapel Hill when his mother walked in and asked him, “Have you heard of Campbell?” Marcus had heard of the university in passing but not much. “Well,” his mother said, “let’s just check it out.” The next week, the two visited Campbell. “As I soon as I got here, I felt comfortable,” Marcus says.
Today, he’s a senior biology major at Campbell and on track to graduate in December. During his time here, he has served as the president of the senior class (2011-12), the junior class (2010-11), the biology club, and the student chapter of the N.C. Academy of Science. He has also taught a Biology 111 lab; and this summer, he spent about a month in Tanzania with other Campbell students and faculty as part of a mission trip. He spoke with Campbell.edu about his time in Tanzania and his future plans.
What did you do in Tanzania this summer?
We held health clinics. We spent about 10 days at an orphanage, and there were a lot of young kids. We took their weight, blood pressure, and heart rate, and we checked their eye sight, among other things. We also shadowed Dr. Kawira, a U.S.-trained doctor who married a Tanzanian man. She has two clinics: one is primarily for pregnant women, and the other is for everybody else.
What did you learn there?
Dr. Kawira specializes in Burkitt’s lymphoma (BL), a kind of cancer found in children in Tanzania. She actually has an ultrasound at her home. There was a little boy who came in with his father. She told us that she had seen the boy before but didn’t think he had BL, so she sent him to the local hospital. His father told her that the boy wasn’t responding to the regimen that they had set up in the local hospital and that he was ready to stop taking him there. Dr. Kawira did another ultrasound. She said based on what she’s used to, she doesn’t think it’s BL. She said, “You know what I should do. I should call the doctor at the local hospital where I sent him.” The doctor at the hospital explained that it wasn’t lymphoma but another type of cancer, and they set up a longer regimen. If Dr. Kawira had never called that doctor, she never would have been able to explain to the father that he had to keep going back to the hospital in order for his son to get better. I’m not the type of person who always crosses his t’s and dots his i’s. But Dr. Kawira showed me that doing so can be the difference between life and death.
You graduate in December. What’s next for you?
I plan to apply to medical school, and I hope to attend Campbell’s School of Osteopathic Medicine when it opens in 2013. Until then, I’m going to work at the local fire department and be an emergency medical technician. Eventually, I want to open up a clinic in a rural area. That’s one of the reasons why the medical school at Campbell is opening, because they notice there is a lack of care that is available to rural areas.
The whole reason my family moved to North Carolina was because my grandmother got sick. Just watching the doctors and how they dealt with her really impacted her life—and that impacted my life.
Campbell is more than a college; it’s a community. It was a place where I wouldn’t get lost in the sauce. If you want a relationship with your professors and opportunities that may be harder to come by at other universities, then Campbell is the place for you. And to include faith into your learning—it’s even in our mission statement that there’s no conflict between the life of faith and the life of inquiry. That’s special.
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Photos by Bennett Scarborough | Story by Cherry Crayton