Reach for a Dream Foundation brings international author to discuss hope

Dr Jerome Groopman, Dr Pamela Hartzband and Dr Craig Nossel discuss how hope can biologically inspire patients to have their chances of healing increased. Photo: Naidine Sibanda

 

The Reach for a Dream Foundation went the extra mile and brought two internationally acclaimed medical doctors from Harvard on 9 May to meet with local stakeholders and speak to doctors about their views and findings on hope.

Dr Jerome Groopman, who is the author of The Anatomy of Hope alongside his wife Dr Pamela Hartzband, illustrated the book and its theme, hope, whether it can change the course of an illness, helping patients to recover and how hope works at a biological level.

“My family lived in New York as the working class. My father got ill and was taken to a small community hospital. However, the doctor’s lack of experience and no medical language did little to help my father and he died. That experience enhanced my commitment, compassion and care in medicine,” Groopman said.

He explores the biology of hope in that if a patient has been diagnosed with a serious illness, having a positive mindset and hopeful expectations about success, alters the brain chemistry in a way that can reduce the body’s pain signals that often contribute to a patient’s despair.

Dr Jerome Groopman and Dr Pamela Hartzband are qualified medical practitioners who seek to inspire healing of illnesses through hope. Photo: Naidine Sibanda

“Biology of hope is approximated by the science of placebo or the ‘placebo effect’ which means that if people have the aspect of hope of good outcome from treatment then they’ll be positive as opposed to the ‘nocebo effect’ where a person has a negative and doubtful aspect about a treatment,” Hartzband explained.

She said that 50 per cent of women in the placebo group tended to get pregnant in comparison with Parkinson’s disease patients who were more under the nocebo effect. Constant research involving assessing which criteria patients fall under improves the chances of success with them and raising their levels of hope according to Hartzband.

One of the parents whose child received a dream from the foundation, Bonnie Suckling said, “Seeing my son receive a dream after a terminal illness inspired hope within both of us and especially me as a parent, we always benefit a lot.”

The foundation continues its primary purpose of providing hope to children fighting life-threatening illnesses and giving them the impact that even though such a situation, a dream can still come through.

The Reach for a Dream Foundation wants children faced with life-threatening illnesses to know that dreams can still be a reality. Photo: Naidine Sibanda

The foundation’s CEO, Julia Sotirianakos said, “When the chips are down, and when we need a powerful shot of motivation to help us find new ways to reach our goal and push us forward towards its achievement, there is no substitute for hope. We encourage all South Africans to inspire hope, strength and courage by showing their support to Reach for a Dream.”

Details: Reach for a Dream Foundation 011 880 1743

Know anyone who has overcome life’s obstacles through hope? Then share your stories by tweeting us @RK_Gazette

 

Related articles: 

Barron celebrates 30 years of making dreams come true with Reach for a Dream

#ICYMI: Run for Hope with Four Seasons The Westcliff and CHOC

  AUTHOR
Naidine Sibanda

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