I can tell you without a doubt, I would have never become a surgeon if I had never met Rick Doran. I was a young veterinary student and he was an equine surgeon in the prime of his career. He saw something in me that I was not even capable of seeing myself.
Actually, before I worked with Rick, I hated surgery after having to assist my dad. My dad, like many old school vets, was one of those instrument throwing, yelling types, and I wanted no part of that.
Working with Rick enabled me to see that there was another way. He was so talented yet so humble. Looking back in all the hours I spent working with him, I never saw him ticked off to be called in late at night or take out frustrations on anyone he worked with. The only time I saw him get angry at all is if a patient died.
He was the first surgeon I worked with who was so talented yet so compassionate. There was never any doubt that though he had a tough job (on call-24/7, 365 days a year) he loved what he did.
Rick never had to do all the things for me that he did-I was just one of many, many veterinary students who came through his practice. Luckily, for me he took me under his wing and molded me into the surgeon I am today and for that I am eternally grateful.
After I switched from large animal to small animal surgery, Rick and I lost touch. We would see each other at meetings but as you know, life gets busy.
A few years ago I had a feeling that I just could not shake. Rick probably knew how much he made a difference in my life but I wanted to send him a note thanking him for all he did for me. Honestly, it felt a little awkward but I did it anyway.
That note turned out to be one of the best things I have ever done. Unbeknownst to me, about the time Rick received that note, he had been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. What a cruel disease and especially to affect such a vibrant man in the prime of his life. I actually did not even find out he had ALS until about 2 years later and in April of this year, Rick passed away.
I am so thankful I took the time to tell him how much he meant to me and that I would not have been where I am today if he had not allowed me to stand on his shoulders.
Who is that person for you?
Who is someone you know that, without a doubt, if he or she had not been there for you-you would not be were you are today?
Why don’t you take 10 minutes this week and send them a real hand-written note (emailing and texting do not count) thanking them for all they did for you. I guarantee it will make your day, and even more importantly it will make theirs!
Who is That Person You Need to Thank This Week?