I don’t like taking part in the Steve Jobs “death watch” (as it’s being called). And I also don’t like dismissing the idea of a miracle. Yet you don’t need to have Jobs’ vision to see that his resignation signals his declining health.
There’s sorrow among the stockholders and Macolytes (a word I picked up on the internet today) who consume Apple products like real apples.
And there’s another level of sadness for another worldwide community. For all that Steve Jobs inspired in the business world, he’s equally inspiring as a cancer survivor.
He’s already survived beyond expectations—especially given that pancreatic cancer is arguably the most challenging to survive. But if there is anyone in the world equipped to meet –and beat—such a challenge, it would be Steve Jobs.
Fighting cancer often requires the same qualities that Steve Jobs exemplifies —vision, creative thinking, determination–both for patients and for researchers.
And cancer is a problem that desperately needs innovation and vision. If only there was someone of his caliber and vision who was making contributions to research with the kind of impact that Jobs made to all of our lives.
One problem is that cancer is a business like Apple is a business. Only compared to Apple, cancer is tragically short of successes.
Steve Jobs was 16 years old when Nixon announced the war on cancer. Meanwhile we’re still relying on the same tools—surgery, radiation, chemotherapy– that existed back then.
Just think about the innovations in technology that have taken place in the same time frame.
The innovators in cancer often don’t have the resources to pursue their vision and further their research. Even Steve Jobs might have had challenges getting innovations to happen in the world of medicine.
Whether any scientist working today would qualify as a Steve Jobs; I can’t say.
I can say that I believe I’m alive thanks to a medical visionary–a doctor who committed his own funding to create a vaccine that he gave to a group of breast cancer survivors. It’s a long story (you can read some of it here). Suffice to say that largely due to the politics and ”business” associated with cancer, you can’t go out and buy the vaccine I took like you would buy an iPad—you can’t even get it.
I only hope that the politics and policies of cancer change enough to allow for more creativity and ingenuity. And maybe somewhere, some young visionary is working right now in a garage to come up with an innovation in cancer that will change the world as much as Steve Jobs changed it.
That’s what the world—and Steve Jobs himself– needs: the Steve Jobs of medicine.