They die – eventually. Sometimes they die unexpectedly – at 38.

His work was done in the lab, but Dr. David DiCiommo’s mind was always on the eyes of children as he sought a cure for cancer of the eye.

“He clearly cared to help people,” his Ph.D. supervisor at the University of Toronto, Dr. Brenda Gallie, said. “The work he did was all on retinoblastoma [a cancer that occurs in the eyes of children under the age of 5] and he could see how the very best of science could help the lives of little children.” […]

Retinoblastoma typically requires the removal of the affected eye, sometimes within hours of diagnosis. It is a particularly fearsome cause of childhood blindness. (Jeff Healey had blastoma.)

DiCiommo, pathology resident at McMaster University and the winner of a prestigious international award, died in his sleep April 3. He was 38. The cause of death is not yet known, said his husband, David Free. DiCiommo, who was taking medication for arthritis, went to sleep at his Ancaster home and did not wake up.

“It was very sudden and it was very unexpected,” said Free…. “The night before … I came home, he had wanted to rearrange some furniture and went to sleep at 11:30. And the next morning at quarter to 8:00, he was gone.” […]

Free recalled his husband’s kind heart. “He’d say his greatest hope and his dream were ‘to make a scientific contribution and to be a confident, competent and caring physician.’ ”

I have a great many worries about completing enough work before I die. I wonder if David DiCiommo did, too.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2007.04.17 14:20. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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