Meet Brendan Mackey, Drexel University College of Medicine, class of 2025. Sponsored by G2Philly as a 24 hour athlete for PHL24, Brendan will climb the Art Museum steps for 24 continuous hours so that cancer patients in Philadelphia don’t have to fight alone. This is Brendan’s story…
Brendan grew up in Danvers, Massachusetts, just north of Boston. His decision to become a physician stems primarily from some powerful moments he shared with cancer patients and their families during his time as a coordinator of cancer clinical trials at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. “My experiences led me to realize that illness affects not only the patient, but also the lives of those close to them. I learned that while illness places a significant strain on families, it can also enable people to understand the importance of those same relationships. This realization has served as my motivation to become a physician—to help my patients have more time with the people who truly matter to them”.
Prior to starting medical school, Brendan worked at the Dempsey Center in Lewiston, Maine, interviewing patients with advanced cancer, who knew their time with loved ones was limited. He recorded deeply personal interviews and produced a documentary film for each patient. These films became lasting memories for family and friends allowing patients to leave their legacy. “I helped patients tell their story for different reasons. Most memorably, some chose to record memories of the upbringing of their children so that they could listen once they were old enough to understand. Another recorded their earliest memories with their spouse before undergoing an operation that would cause them to lose their voice for the remainder of their time together. It was an experience that led to some incredibly meaningful conversations that helped me to better understand the different ways that cancer could impact a person and their loved ones”.