Science and faith integrate to reveal
the human side of cancer
Albert Einstein once said, “Science without religion is lame.
Religion without science is blind.” At ;;;, faith and science
are intertwined in a cutting-edge biology class that examines
the effects of cancer on patients and their families.
Taught by Professor of Biology and Canada Research
Chair in Developmental Genetics and Disease, Eve
Stringham, Ph.D., the class brings together an intimate
group of biology and nursing students to study the
cell biology and immunology of tumor cells, genetic
predisposition, and treatment strategies. In addition to the
hard science they learn, students are paired with a cancer
patient to pray for during the semester.
"The class totally changed my life. I'm just speechless
when it comes to this little boy," says biology major Carol
Tadrous about the patient she was paired with. “He was so
full of hope and joy. I even included my experience with him
in my application for medical school.”
Tadrous and the boy soon became fast friends. And from
a class unit about ‘healing of spirit,’ she applied theory that
she learned to her relationship with him. “As an aspiring
Christian doctor, I would really like to incorporate the
love of Jesus and His healing power—to use that with the
patients I serve,” she says.
For biology major Arend Strikwerda, praying for
terminally ill patients came naturally. “A part of who we are
is to engage in each other’s suffering,” he says. “It’s natural
to pray for someone and to empathize. I feel like that’s a
really important part of what it is to be human.” He felt some
trepidation when asking personal questions of his prayer
patient — a middle-aged man with a tumour on his tongue.
But the man and his wife surprised Strikwerda with their
openness; they added him to their email list, and for nearly a
year he read twice-a-week email updates from them.