In "The Dream Book," a popular story for children, author Margaret Wise Brown encourages readers to train their thoughts toward the sublime.
"Think of the world as it can seem
Toward such a world first comes the dream."
When that book first appeared in 1950, Arthur G. James, MD, a 38-year-old cancer surgeon at The Ohio State University, was indeed dreaming big.
Just three years earlier, he had completed a surgery fellowship at Memorial Hospital (now Memorial Sloan-Kettering) in New York and returned to Ohio State, his alma mater, as an assistant professor who envisioned a world without cancer.
But Dr. James realized that, to achieve such an idealistic end, the world would need more facilities like Memorial Hospital, which had deeply impressed him with its quality of cancer care.
"They were exclusively a cancer hospital; they dealt with cancer one hundred percent of the time," he once explained. "When I returned to Ohio State, I felt more and more that we should have a cancer hospital in this part of the world (there were none between New York and Texas). That's when the thought came up that we ought to start working on it."
So was born a slowly unfolding dream destined to blossom as a freestanding cancer institution that, five decades later, ranks among America's best in cancer research, detection, treatment and prevention.
In essence, the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute – the patient-care component of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – owes its existence to the vision of one man whose humble rise to medical prominence proceeded from unlikely origins.