Diane Cotter knew cancer was a risk of her husband’s job. Paul had been a firefighter for 27 years, and they had been advised of not only the safety risks, but also the health implications from exposure to diesel exhaust and products of combustion. But when Paul, a 55-year-old in great shape, who ate healthy and took care of himself, received a prostate cancer diagnosis, Diane suspected something other than smoke was the culprit.
In May 2020, the world crowded around screens to watch the SpaceX demo flight of the Crew Dragon to the International Space Station. For a brief moment, the awe and wonder, the possibility and potential, was reminiscent of the Apollo missions and the first live coverage of splashdown more than 50 years ago. With the launch of the United States Space Force and NASA’s planned Artemis missions to the Moon, our nation may be reigniting its curiosity with what’s beyond. But years of slowed activity has its disadvantages, one of which includes outdated equipment and the spacesuits that keep astronauts safe.
In the spring of 2020, Faron Brinkley moved to Chicago to take a job with a hotel chain. Two weeks into his training, COVID-19 hit the city, halting the hospitality industry. In a new city with no paying job, no apartment and little savings, Brinkley stayed with a friend and then in a car, and faced the possibility of homelessness.
When Evan Nichols ’19 was 4 years old, his brother, Ben, suffered a brachial plexus injury at birth, which severed the connection between sensory and motor neurons and the spine. Nichols’ parents explained that because the neurons were no longer attached to the spinal cord, Ben would likely have limited use of his left arm. “But why can’t they just go back in?” an innocent Evan asked, not knowing the question would someday spur innovative research.
Nikos and Zeta Giannopoulos grew up in Mati, Greece, an idyllic seaside town that draws both tourists and locals with the allure of fresh, salty air; cool blue waters; and a serene canopy of lush pines. Mati is where the couple fell in love, had a community of friends and neighbors, raised their children, and felt their everyday life was paradise.
Sam Grewe ’21 was 13 when he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer that eventually required his right leg to be amputated. While his peers muddled through middle school, he bounced between doctor’s appointments, chemotherapy, surgeries and therapy. But good doctors, Grewe insists, facilitated dramatic results in his recovery.