By James Beckerman, M.D.
When I was in medical school, one of my professors asked me why I wanted to be a doctor. I described my satisfaction with solving problems and helping people – probably a pretty typical medical student response. But then I asked him what he felt was most important about being a good physician.
“Being there,” he said. “Just being there.”
At the time, I wasn’t sure what he meant. But now, over ten years later, I know exactly what he was trying to say. “Being there” during a person’s happiest and saddest moments. “Being there” when family members need each other the most. “Being there” when things go well, and sometimes when they don’t. I’m thankful for the opportunity that I have every single day to spend time with people when they are at their most vulnerable. I’m thankful to be a part of the challenges that make us feel the most helpless. I’m thankful to have the privilege of witnessing the human condition at its best, and even at its worst. Even if I can’t always help, there is something about just being there that seems like the right thing to do. I’m very thankful for that opportunity.
The Red Cross might answer that question the same way. Regardless of circumstance or convenience, the mission of the Red Cross is just that – to be there when people need its volunteers the most. And volunteers recognize that being there is one of the most important things that any of us can do for other people. I’m thankful for this opportunity to partner with the Red Cross and help raise funds so that during the next tragedy, the next disaster – and all the other smaller ones that don’t make the evening news – we don’t keep people waiting.
James Beckerman, M.D. is the WebMD Heart Expert and a cardiologist with the Providence Heart and Vascular Institute in Portland, Oregon. He chairs the Oregon Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports and is the team cardiologist for the Portland Timbers Major League Soccer Team.
This guest post was contributed by the author to Writers for the Red Cross. Writers for the Red Cross is a month-long celebration that brings writers, readers, editors, literary agents and independent bookstores together to raise funds and awareness for the Red Cross during Red Cross Month.