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  • Alyse Gray

Researcher No More


Cancer Magnified, painting by my husband

For the past two and a half years I've been watching fellow human beings die from cancer, a disease that kills more people annually than COVID. I set out to help those with the disease by working in research. After a about a year, I realized the projects I was working on were not going to make a difference. A number of cancer patients I got to know during one of the studies died of the disease and it had a profound impact on me. Nothing I was doing could save them and there wasn't anything I could do to change it. In medical research, if you don't hold a medical or doctoral degree, you are but a cog in the wheel of a machine fueled by pharmaceutical and biotech companies. I felt powerless and hopeless, but stayed with my organization, holding on to the aspiration that I could influence someone who could make a difference. Although it was pointless, I didn't want to give up that miniscule chance.


I had a powerful experience with nature that finally knocked me to my senses. I realized it was necessary to leave the position in order to free up the mental energy to make an impact in this space on my own, outside of work. I will be going back to regular hospital pathology and continuing to work on ideas which will make a real impact in the lives of cancer patients. This also means I'll be going back to doing autopsies, which I have missed! I'm taking some time in between jobs to do some writing and hopefully, finally, get published. If not, that's ok. I will continue to write. Things are really looking up, so stay tuned, good stuff is coming!

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