Christopher Hooshmand, Corporal USMC
On a hot afternoon in the middle of the desert during a training exercise, there I stood, contemplating my future. This day was different from others at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in 29 Palms, California. I received news my friend Ralph was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) while on patrol in Afghanistan. I was not told much other than he was taken to Walter Reed Medical Center. This information gave me a sinking feeling in my stomach; it is common knowledge in the military only the most critically injured patients are treated at that hospital. I eventually found out that Ralph was in a coma, on a ventilator, and lost both of his legs. I remember sitting on the floor of my room wishing I could help Ralph breath on his own again, hoping his doctors could keep him alive.

During my first semester at Irvine Valley College, I started thinking about my future career. Ever since Ralph was injured, I’ve had an overwhelming interest in medicine. This desire led me to shadowing Dr. Dan Cooper at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County.

Of all the patients I had the opportunity to see, one little girl stood out and held a special place in my heart. Her name was Jasmine, she was 12 years old and due to a birth defect she could not breathe on her own and a ventilator was connected to her throat at all times. For a girl with so many reasons to be upset with the world, you could not have found a girl more full of life. Jasmine always had a smile on her face and she made sure to give everyone a hug before leaving the clinic. I could not help but think about Ralph every time I saw the ventilator connected to Jasmine’s throat. After seven years, Ralph is still undergoing surgeries on his arms and legs. The only way Jasmine and Ralph were able to receive quality care was because honorable, hard-working individuals committed the mselves to the medical profession. Being a Marine veteran, I know about committing to a cause bigger than myself and working tirelessly to further that cause. Becoming a physician that provides patients with excellent care, especially the disadvantaged like Jasmine and the forgotten veterans like Ralph, is my new purpose in life.