The Church is made up of Christians from a myriad of different professions, and yet their ordinary tales of God at work rarely get told. In this series, we bring you stories of faith on the frontline
My name is Garrick Wilson and I work in oncology, in an area called convergence research. I’m based at Imperial College London and the Institute of Cancer Research, the UK’s only dedicated cancer research centre. ‘Convergence’ is the merging of different scientific disciplines to address problems in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
I lead a training programme to create a new generation of convergence doctors who will look at these problems and seek solutions long after I’m out of post. When we put great minds together from different subject areas, we can usually get an answer to a problem more quickly.
We all know someone who has been affected by this terrible disease, and I’m seeking to demonstrate my faith in a practical way in response. I’m committed to a theology of justice: the idea that right thinking produces right actions. My Christian faith compels me to see justice through the lens of Jesus’ approach to people and their situations – and to get involved in bringing about solutions. If we had more people focused on solutions rather than just highlighting problems, we’d have a better world.
Changing people’s lives is central to the mission of the Church. I just happen to be playing my part in an area that I’m interested in – God so often works through our interests to impact the world around us. Part of my mission is to increase the number of doctors and scientists from underrepresented groups who can go back to communities that are often hesitant about medical research and engage them in culturally relevant ways, leading to more equitable health outcomes.
There is room for me to talk about my faith. I’ve just come from speaking with a colleague who was crying because their mum has been diagnosed with cancer, which is terrible. We’re working on this and suddenly it’s close to home. They said: “I’m here with you because I’ve noticed the way you carry yourself in a crisis.” That’s the fruit of the Spirit. We should not be overcome by the circumstances we face but reflect the light of Jesus in every scenario.
My grandmother and my mother were absolute heroes. My grandmother had such confidence in me. She taught me how to pray about everything. My mum, a single parent, worked incredibly hard to ensure my siblings and I got everything we needed. She would go out to work and return tired, but she was always interested in us and encouraged us to use our gifts to benefit others.
Please pray that my work reduces the burden and prevalence of cancer. And please pray that those we are training will see their work in missional terms, eschew self-interest and help people live better lives.