The real Patch Adams

The film Patch Adams, starring Robin Williams, is about a fun-loving doctor and his attempts to help people through not only medicine, but also through joy and laugher. On the cover of the film, it reads “Based on a true story.”

Although this statement can be an appealing, Hollywood is not always known for its accuracy in its portrayal of events, which begs the question: Who is the real Patch Adams?  On Tuesday, Feb. 15 at 11 a.m. in the Grande Ballroom, Hunter “Patch” Adams will be speaking about his life and the knowledge he has gained through his experiences.

Adams’ life was not always filled with laughter and happiness. Adams spent time in a mental hospital after attempting to commit suicide three times. While in the hospital, he came to the realization that he wanted to help people.

After being released, Adams enrolled in medical school as one of the oldest in his class. He had the vision that doctors must not only treat the disease, but also treat the patients. He would get to know his patients beyond their diseases and help them heal on an emotional level as well. Along the way, this philosophy made him some enemies and almost threatened his career. But Adams never gave up.

After graduation from medical school, Adams began the Gesundheit! Institute where people could come to be treated for free.   Adams’ vision extended beyond this in the years following those that were shown in the movie. Adams has inspired many volunteers to deliver needed medical supplies around the world, but in true spirit of his work, they try to get to know the patients.

Adams presentation will be entitled “Living a Life of Joy: Keeping Your Spirits Up in the Down Times.”

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