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Pediatrician inspires patient to attend medical school

By Allyson Crowell
Office of Development and Alumni Affairs

His seizures started, without any definitive cause, at age 12.  

James B. Edwards Award recipient Cody Gathers meets with Dr. Edwards at his home.

Cody Gathers’ family brought him to get checked out at the MUSC Children’s Hospital after the first spell. When the fits started again at school, doctors admitted him.

Cody stayed under specialists’ observation for 22 days. Now a first-year medical student at MUSC, the 23-year-old Goose Creek native suspects that stress sparked the turmoil in his young body.

But Cody’s most valuable lesson from his hospital stay had nothing to do with science or medicine. Instead, a physician’s kindness during that vulnerable time directed his life from that moment on.

“She would stop and talk to me about my ambitions, my goals” he said. “I knew I wanted to help people, but those conversations are what sparked my interest in pediatrics. I wanted to have an impact on lives like she had on my life.”

Cody plans to become a pediatrician after graduation.  As a recipient of the James B. Edwards Award, he will finish medical school with less debt and less pressure to pursue a job in a higher-paying specialty field. “I can’t thank Dr. Edwards enough,” he said. “I don’t have as many loans to repay, so working in primary care is an option for me.”

Cody doesn’t remember the name of the doctor who unknowingly sent him on this career path. He hopes to reconnect with her as he begins volunteering at MUSC, helping children in the same way that she helped him.