When the 15-year old boy named Jack Thomas Andraka or commonly known as Jack Andraka won the top prize at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for his Pancreatic Cancer Censor, unexpected fame and attention from the media took over a moment on his life. He was invited to give a TED talk and appeared on the Colbert Report. He receives recognition at the White House, the Max Planck Society and the Vatican. Despite his achievements and award, criticism and challenges are also possible. This will lead to disappointments and even quitting. But Jack Andraka showed a fighting spirit and even justify his invention and proved its worth. One thing that gives him strength is surely from his ever-supportive parents who are always there at every turn. So how his parents support him all the way?
This teen prodigy was born on January 8, 1997, in Crownsville Maryland. He is currently studying Electrical Engineering and Public Policy at Stanford University. He participated the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and happily took home the top prize. His award-winning piece can possibly identify early stages of pancreatic cancer and probably any other type of cancer. The death of a family friend whom he considered as his uncle is what inspired him to come up with the idea for his invention. As one of the most threatening and deadly cancers, Pancreatic cancer, can spread to other parts of the body by the time it`s diagnosed. Jack believes, from the study of previous scientists, that the late detection or simply lack of early detection is what leads to the death of cancer victims since by the time they are diagnosed, cancer already progressed to stage three or stage four. This is what boosts his desire to find an alternative for early detection. His curiosity on pancreatic cancer test arouses during his biology class where his teacher was discussing antibodies and he was secretly reading a medical journal on analytical methods using carbon nanotubes. That medical journal attracted his curiosity of what if he will put the ideas together and come up a revolutionary scientific invention. Youtube, Wikipedia, and Google became his best buddies in the midst of his research. His boundless determination, dedication, and self-confidence despite the criticism, bullying and doubts just keep on pushing him to come up an early detection test. Through massive research and analysis, he comes up with a sensor identical to a diabetic strip which measures the mesothelin, a potential indicator of cancer.
Out of 200 scientists whom he wrote for a lab space for the completion of his research and invention, only Dr. Anirban Maitra of MD Anderson Cancer Center accepted his letter and believes in his potential. With those 199 rejections, Jack Andraka`s strength was the support and encouragement of his parents on his work. It’s either rejection or acceptance, his parents were there to tap his shoulders and shows a thumbs up.
Jack grew up in a home environment which appreciates more on Science and Math. His parents is an anesthetist and civil engineer respectively. Despite their demanding jobs, his parents never missed their parenting jobs. They showed sacrifices such as driving long distances for the different activities of their children plus patiently waiting for them until the end of the sessions. His parents act as his guard, escort and companion in every math or science competition and to the Hopkins Lab, the Lab of Dr. Anirban Maitra, the only researcher who accepts Jack`s proposal and provided a lab space. As Jack sometimes working late into the night or even early morning Jane sacrificed the time to wait for his son. According to Jack`s mom, she can’t have the rewind button for time, that’s why she tried to cherish each moment and as much as they can, be a hands-on parent since kids grow up really fast.