Alfredo is a former illegal immigrant whose story sounds like a movie script – watch as a man who had next to nothing becomes a world-renowned brain surgeon – but it’s definitely not fiction.
Twenty years ago, Alfredo jumped a border fence from Mexico into the United States and became a migrant farmworker.
Today he is a neurosurgeon and professor at Johns Hopkins University, and a researcher who is looking for a breakthrough in the treatment of brain cancer.
Alfredo was born in a tiny farming community, 60 miles south of the U.S. border. By the time he was 5, he was working at his father’s gas station. His grandmother was a village healer and a midwife.
But in the mid-1970’s, Alfredo’s father could no longer keep food on the table for his family. Alfredo managed to stay in school and became a teacher by the time he was 18. But he was also unable to provide for his family, so eventually he made the decision to head north.
Once he got to the U.S., Alfredo picked cotton, tomatoes and cantaloupes, and lived in the fields in a broken-down camper. But he knew he needed to find something different if he wanted to change his life.
So he signed up for English classes at the local community college. He had a teacher who helped him get a scholarship at the University of California, Berkeley. There he developed a passion for science, and he went on to Harvard Medical School where he eventually delivered the commencement speech. He also received his U.S. citizenship during this time.
Alfred says he owes so much of his success to the many people who have extended a hand to him throughout his life.
What an inspiring story!
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By Lynn Huber
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