Editor's Note: 10 Questions is a weekend feature on NBC10.com. If you know someone who we should profile, please email us.
Dr. Edward Olin Goodrich, 89, of Ardmore has overcome stroke, a heart attack and cancer. He's participating in the Bayada Regatta, an adaptive rowing competition for disabled persons on the Schuylkill River on Aug. 16. He says optimism has carried him through all these years and kept him laughing at life. He describes himself as 5'7'', 118 pounds and shrinking every year.
How do you sum up your life?
I was born premature on May 7, 1925 in New Mexico. I founded a prep school in Sante Fe in 1950. I’m a surgeon and specialized in liver transplants. While working in Albany, I conducted liver transplant research and completed the first successful transplant on a dog. That research was used to develop transplants in humans. I moved to Ardmore 30 years ago. I've been a widower since 1990. I’ve had a pretty intense health history. I’m an optimist. My life is just about over. I’ve been pretty busy here and there.
What do you like about being a doctor?
The patients are very grateful.
Describe your early career path?
I was in the Navy college program. I attended Yale and wrestled. I also attended medical school. At the end of medical school, I wanted to get into surgery but the Navy would not support an internship in surgery so I had to switch over to the Army. I kept the GI Bill to get through medical school. I retired from the Army.
What was your military service like?
I served in World War II. (Goodrich’s son Alfred recalls his service in Korea: My dad was in North Korea and their unit's position was overran. My dad helped save the soldiers. He received a Silver Star for managing the evacuation of the wounded soldiers in his unit. This happened on Thanksgiving Day in 1950).
How do you stay in shape?
I row about 2,000 meters on the erg machine.
You’re a doctor, but you’ve been a patient. How did you overcome such serious health problems?
Staying optimistic. I had testicular cancer in 1965, a massive stroke in 1980, prostate cancer in 2002, heart attack in 2004, small strokes since 2009, lung cancer in 2013 and hernia surgery earlier this year. The stoke left me unable to continue to perform surgery. It took years for me to regain motor skills. Despite all that, I like to row and I have been training to keep rowing. I try to appreciate things wherever I can. I thinks it’s kind of ridiculous that I’ve been through so much and am still around and kicking.
Besides rowing, how do you spend your time in your golden years?
I volunteer at the Community Volunteers medicine clinic in West Chester. I take medical histories, do physicals and consulting. I stay active and volunteer.
One word to describe yourself.
What's your best advice for young people?
Keep your head down and keep pumping. If you are not limping by the time you are 50-years-old, you are going to miss something.
How do you maintain a good attitude?
I’m optimistic. That’s pretty important. I figure you are going to laugh or cry, and you’re better off laughing. Actor Robin Williams could have laughed at his situation, and wouldn't have been worrying about his depression. I think that’s important.