Anna Williams '22 was only 12 years old, but she'll never forget the tearful goodbye to her best friend. Henry G. Williams, Jr. served as a US Marine Corps Drill Sergeant. He also served his country in the Navy, the Air Force, and the Army. He was a decorated veteran, but to Williams, he was just "Grandie," her grandfather and best friend. And he was dying of prostate cancer.
"I'm going to do everything in my power to stop cancer from taking others from the people they love."
Williams isn't searching for the cure for cancer. She wants to fight the war on a different front. Her internship with Foundation Medicine has been an important first step.
Last summer, Williams interned in the pathology department at Foundation Medicine. Through genomic profiling, the Cambridge, Massachusetts company helps physicians make more informed decisions when caring for their cancer patients. Specifically, Williams researched the genetic mutation found in patients with lung adenocarcinoma. She dedicated her findings to her grandfather - no other intern had ever publicly dedicated their work in memory of a loved one.
This summer, Williams returned to Foundation Medicine, but this time in strategic operations. She helped transition the information the company received from its partners into two new databases to eliminate redundancies and improve processes.
Originally, Williams wanted to be an oncologist. But she decided she could do more good by focusing on the system, instead of one patient at a time. She'd like to open a cancer center for veterans and provide more targeted, better quality care at no cost to the brave men and women who served their country. And that's a promise.
"The last time I saw Grandie, he looked into my eyes, while his own eyes filled with tears, and he said...
'One thing I know for sure is my little girl will change the world one day.'
My Grandie is, and always will be, the inspiration behind the passion, ambition, and drive I have for my career. I know wholeheartedly that he is screaming ‘OORAHH!’ from Heaven watching his little girl accomplish her dreams and aspirations."
Anna Williams '22