My big brother

“My brother was the reason that I ever was able to leave Africa. He was the reason I took the SAT, the ACT, all of that stuff. He became a doctor, so I wanted to become a doctor. Not because he told me to or anyone in my family pressured me, but just because I wanted to be like him. During third year I was headed to the airport with my girlfriend when I got a phone call. She and I were going to go on vacation to Mexico.  It was my brother. He had lung cancer. No risk factors, non-smoker, no family history. I canceled the vacation and flew straight to Florida (he was an ER physician there). He was the reason that I was in medical school, that I wanted to become a doctor. All of it. I tried to quit. I went in to our dean of students and told him I was withdrawing. He asked me why and I told him. He suggested I take some time off. My brother told me not to. It was the first time that he had ever directly told me what to do with my life. He never told me to be a doctor, but he did tell me not to quit. My brother died about 6 months later, the day of my first residency interview in fourth year.”