Faith Galderisi, DO '01 | Behind the White Coat | Digest Magazine
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Faith Galderisi, DO '01

January 9, 2019

Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist; Associate Medical Director, Seattle Genetics, Bothell, Washington

Photograph of Faith Galderisi, DO '01“My close friend in high school had bone cancer. She lived effortlessly with a prosthesis on her lower leg, which made me very sensitive to the fact that we don’t know what people are going through. She died during my first year in college.  . . . My friend was strong, her situation unimaginable; how was I fortunate to grow up healthy? Her passing solidified my desire to help children with cancer. I wanted to give back. I followed that passion.  . . . It’s definitely tricky, dealing with the young who are dying. You can’t completely immerse yourself in their suffering. At the same time, it is absolutely imperative to remain compassionate. I had to remain a little detached, so I was clearly thinking of the best treatment for them. It was important to give myself time to be sad, too.  . . . My life was impacted by my patients and their families. I witnessed profound strength in them. They didn’t act as if nothing was wrong; rather, their strength was living with the waves of emotion, dealing with the unexpected, which with pediatric cancer can be the norm.  . . . Personally, I found healthy outlets for physical activity to cope with stress. When my own children were older, I renewed my love of running. I signed up for half-marathons, just so I could have some time for myself and have a physical release of energy when there was so much emotional intensity.  . . . In 2017, I transitioned from patient care to working for Seattle Genetics, developing and administering clinical trials for new treatments. More than half of my oncology patients had been on clinical trials or were treated by the protocols developed by trials. It got to a point where I wanted to do more than deliver the protocols and treat one patient at a time. I wanted to develop standards of care. I’m the only physician on a team with a project manager, programmers, biostatisticians and medical writers. At this point in my life, it feels like a way to have more impact.  . . . My journey has taught me that there is always more evolution that we can have. I was just in Bangladesh, volunteering with MedGlobal, providing care to Rohingya refugees. After that experience, I’m looking to do more humanitarian care, which could include global pediatric oncology work. I’m thinking about the children with cancer overseas who don’t have access to the treatments.  . . . I’m going with the progression. I’m sticking with the original plan: to provide care to people with cancer. I remain motivated to assisting those in the greatest despair who need help. I am expecting the unexpected.”