A Personal Connection

Brandon Hinrichs is a 2013 Most Valuable Student scholar who recently graduated from Macalester College with a Bachelor of Arts in Honors Biology and Chemistry. He will be continuing his academic pursuits at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, with a focus in Oncology.

His story is unlike others, as it is one that hits extremely close to home. In 2009, Brandon’s father passed away from untreated bladder cancer. This took his family by surprise, as they had not even known about the diagnosis before his death. His father’s inability to drive hours to receive treatment had taken his life, one that may have been able to have been saved with the proper access to healthcare. Due to this, Brandon gained an immense interest in learning more about how he can help those with limited access to healthcare, such as his father. He hopes to not only help individuals’ medical needs, but to also connect with individuals on a personal and emotional level.

“Oncology is a challenging and constantly changing specialty where you can develop long lasting relationships with your patients and their family members.” He continues, “I have firsthand experience with how cancer affects not only the person with cancer but all of those close to them.”

This experience is what makes Brandon a unique Gunther & Lee Weigel Medical School Scholarship recipient. Through his research within this field, he hopes to one day be able to help advance the understanding of cancer and its treatments to help future generations of individuals afflicted by one of the deadliest and most life altering diseases. While he is interested in learning more about the field as a whole, one thing that Brandon especially looks forward to are the long-term relationships that he can form with his patients and their loved ones. He recognizes that cancer is life changing, and he wants to be there as a support system to his patients and their family members throughout their treatment.

Brandon shares, “Observing the great strength and resilience of patients with cancer despite the devastation that a cancer diagnosis brings would constantly humble me, motivating me to dedicate more of my time to helping these individuals.”

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