Fast Facts

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Humans of WVSOM 

Humans of WVSOM is a documentary series designed by WVSOM students. Follow their stories on Facebook! It's a great way to learn more about our diverse group of students

Meet Justin Argoncillo, WVSOM Class of 2024 - Brooksville, FL

"No matter the twists and turns along your journey, determination and perseverance will clear a path to your goals...

For those who don’t know or don’t quite know the whole story, I was caught in a grease fire last November just before Thanksgiving. I was frying some food in my apartment in WV when the oil caught fire and ultimately spilled on me and the floor. Thankfully, the apartment didn’t catch fire, but I suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns to my hands and left leg, with major damage to my left hand and left thigh. I was hospitalized in a burn specialty hospital in Virginia for 3 weeks and underwent multiple skin graft surgeries. The additional (forced) break of recovering from the incident was initially very upsetting and frustrating; however, it allowed me to refocus my mind and taught me more about perseverance.

Now today, as I think about the whole event, I realize just how blessed I am to have supportive friends and family. I am doing so much better now. My scars are gnarly as you can see, but after extensive OT / PT, I have regained function in my left hand and was even able to return to lifting weights (before the quarantine).
But the greatest, deepest, and warmest thank you goes to my new family of friends from med school, WVSOM’s Class of 2023. I was so surprised to hear that a GoFundMe was started and was shocked by everyone’s overwhelming support. I never expected this much generosity, but I want you all to know I am so grateful. All of the funds covered the majority of my hospital bills and greatly reduced my out of pocket costs. You guys (Class of 2023) finished your first year of med school and I’m proud of you all. You guys worked so hard and I only got a taste of the struggle but I’m confident each and every one of you persevered. I miss you all. I’m eager to return to school in July with the Class of 2024, and I can’t wait to catch up with everyone."

 

Meet Sara Carder, WVSOM Class of 2023 - Ney, OH

"Being born a twin is like being gifted with your best friend from your first breath, yet it is also, metaphorically, a shared breath. [Growing up] we have done virtually everything together. We shared our best times together and our worst, and we were there for each other when perhaps each of our biggest 'secrets' came out.
My twin sister was hiding her struggles with mental illness. She did not tell anyone about it, and did her best to cope in the best ways she could, even if they weren’t healthy. Her secret came out when I received a text message from a friend that said she was worried my sister had done something very bad and I needed to check on her as soon as possible. I leapt from my work desk in the university weight room and sprinted to her dorm room to find laying in her bed, with an unpalpable pulse, overdosed in an attempt to end her life. Why on earth would she not tell me so I could help her, we had been through it all together?

As I would later shock her with my secret, that I was a lesbian and was in a serious relationship with my current girlfriend, I realized I had done the same thing to her by hiding my sexuality. You see, I am a lesbian woman from a small, rural, very conservative, and predominantly Catholic town. I grew up hearing how the things I was feeling were a sin and I would be going to hell for it if I lived into my identity. I’m assuming many children hearing this would become fearful and refrain from speaking a word to any living soul about what they were feeling.

Keeping a secret from your other half, the person who makes each day better, is probably the hardest thing I have ever done as well as the thing I most regret. Thankfully, my family took my coming out better than I could have ever imagined and welcomed my girlfriend with open arms and open hearts. I am also proud to share that after a long stent in a long-term behavioral health center, my sister has made astronomical progress and currently applying to PA School.
I know my future as a physician may be met with some controversy in regard to my sexuality, but I am going to live the life that makes me happy and that includes being honest with & not ashamed of who I am in regard to my sexuality. I truly believe being a part of the LGBTQ+ community and knowing the importance of creating safe spaces for people struggling with mental illness will make me a more open minded, well rounded, and accepting physician of all my future patients."
 

Meet Molly O'Neil, WVSOM Class of 2022 - Laurel, MD 

“On Tuesday I attended a lunch lecture on Breastfeeding Support and the impact this ‘liquid gold’ can have on the baby’s health. Breastfeeding lowers infant mortality, aids in protection against infections, has numerous immunologic benefits, lowers the risks of SIDS, and may even have ties to cognitive development. Learning about the benefits of breastfeeding made me appreciate my birth mother that much more.

On this day 24 years ago, I had been abandoned at the age of five months and was found early in the morning on a mat by the road, outside of the gate of an orphanage in mainland China. There was no note. No explanation. No way of knowing who I was or where I came from. I had a small bag of clothes and a tin of baby powder. At the time, families in China by law were not permitted to have more than one child. There were severe consequences for anyone caught giving birth to a second child. My adoptive mother believes that in order for my biological mother to have kept me until the age of five months, she must have gone to great lengths to hide and protect me. When I was found, I was in exceptional condition. The physicians were amazed at my health and progress and noted that I was probably breast fed up until I was left at the orphanage. This could be a contributing factor to my health and success today.

I am so very thankful for my birth mother for choosing to give me life, and for giving me the vital nutrients I needed when I entered this world. Growing up, I never viewed my adoption in a negative light. I never felt abandoned, but chosen. What my biological mother did was a tremendous act of love and sacrifice. I have both mothers to thank for getting me to the place where I am today. I could not ask for better parents who love and support me unconditionally.”