Johns Hopkins Gazette | January 26, 2009
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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University January 26, 2009 | Vol. 38 No. 19
'Gifted Hands,' the Life Story of JHU's Ben Carson, Comes to TV

Cuba Gooding Jr. as Ben Carson

By Kim Hoppe
Johns Hopkins Medicine

Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. stars in the upcoming TV movie Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, which premieres Saturday, Feb. 7, on Turner Network Television. Based on the best-selling 1996 memoir of Benjamin S. Carson Sr., director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children's Center, the movie traces Carson's life journey from Detroit's inner city to his career as a brain surgeon at Johns Hopkins.

A screening and reception to benefit the Carson Scholars Fund will be held on Monday, Feb. 2, on the East Baltimore campus (see below).

The memoir, crafted with Cecil Murphy, begins with his childhood on the streets of Detroit in the 1950s and 1960s. Carson faced difficulties early on, when his father abandoned the family. "All that I am, or ever hope to be, I owe to my mother," says Carson of his mother, Sonja, who pushed her sons to discover the pleasures of reading and the power of an education. Carson recalls her repeated words: "Bennie, if you can read, honey, you can learn just about anything you want to know. The doors of the world are open to people who can read."

With a new pair of glasses and encouragement to spend time at his local library, young Carson dived into the world of books. His scholastic performance improved dramatically. He went on to Yale University and the University of Michigan School of Medicine, refusing to give up on the dream he and his mother had for his future, even when negative peer pressure threatened to stand in his way.

Today, Carson maintains a full surgical practice at Johns Hopkins, is the author of four books and devotes time to helping young people overcome their medical limitations and fulfill their dreams. His well-attended "Think Big" presentations at Johns Hopkins are open to the public, by reservation. In 1994, he and his wife, Candy, established the Carson Scholars Fund to recognize and reward students in grades four to 11 who achieve academic excellence and demonstrate a strong commitment to their community. Since the fund's inception, more than 3,400 college scholarships — which are awarded without regard to race, creed, religion or financial need--have been awarded to students in 27 states and jurisdictions.

In June 2008, Carson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush. The White House honored him for "working to improve the lives of those suffering from neurological disorders" and because his "groundbreaking contributions to medicine and his inspiring efforts to help America's youth fulfill their potential have strengthened our nation."

Cuba Gooding Jr. most recently appeared opposite Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe in Ridley Scott's American Gangster. He received an Academy Award for his breakthrough performance in Jerry Maguire, for which he also received a Screen Actors Guild Award and a Golden Globe nomination. He is a six-time nominee for the NAACP Image Award, an honor he won for his performance in the drama Radio.


'Gifted Hands' Screening, Reception at Johns Hopkins

Tickets are now on sale through the Carson Scholars Fund for a celebration of Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 2, in Turner Auditorium, East Baltimore campus. (Doors open at 6:30 p.m.) Following a screening of the movie, guests are invited to a dessert reception hosted by Carson and his wife, Candy. Tickets are $75 to $1,000. For details, go to GO TO JANUARY 26, 2009 TABLE OF CONTENTS.

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