Published: 06th March 2017
'My grandfather is going to teach me suturing', says Dr K M Cherian's granddaughter
Sharon Joy, granddaughter of Dr K M Cherian talks about what she had to go through when she lost her father, her invitation to attend global conferences in the US and more
The loss of a parent at the age of twelve can be insurmountable, and having to start over in another country altogether, a whole new ball game. But, 17-year-old Sharon Joy didn’t let that deter her. She took it in her stride to pursue her passion and now she’s the only student from India to attend the National Student Leadership Conference at Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts and the Global Young Leaders Conference at Washington DC and New York, this summer. Being the granddaughter of Dr K M Cherian (Chairman and CEO of Frontier Lifeline Hospital), one of India’s leading heart surgeons, Medicine flows through her veins, so to speak. When we caught up with Sharon recently, she spoke about adapting to a new environment, her relationship with her grandfather and more. Excerpts:
Was growing up in a family of doctors the reason you developed an interest in Science and Medicine?
Well, it’s how I was introduced to Science and Medicine so early on. But my father’s demise had a huge impact on me. I took quite some time to recover from it. Being the inquisitive person that I am, I wanted to know how an otherwise healthy, young man could die of a sudden cardiac arrest. I remember telling my mother that I didn’t want another child to feel the way I did at the time. I think that too contributed to my inclination towards Medicine.
How were you selected for the conference?
I wrote the PSAT (Preliminary SAT) exam a while ago. It’s also the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test and I was in the 95th percentile. That’s how I got invited to both the conferences. I am very excited about them. It will be a great opportunity to learn under exceptional medical professionals and research facilities. It might also be my first trip abroad by myself, so I can’t wait!
What kind of relationship do you share with your grandfather?
He does come off as someone strict, but I think we share a special bond. I am pretty close to him and when he heard that I was invited to the conference, he was very happy for me. He’s even volunteered to teach me suturing before I leave for the conference and I am looking forward to that.
Grandpa Hero: Sharon Joy with her grandfather Dr K M Cherian
Sharon says it’s too early for her to decide if she wants to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps of becoming a cardiologist. Her current interests lie in Genetics and Pediatrics
How did you find the move to Chennai?
It came as a huge shock. I didn’t know the city’s culture and language. It was all completely new. I had come here before for vacations but moving here was different. Initially, I found it difficult to even make friends with my accent, but now it’s a lot better. But, I still miss everyone back home in the States. Also she says that this is the first time she’s going to the States post-Trump and she hopes that things haven't changed from how she remembers the US, with people treating others with equal respect regardless of their race and colour.