Dr_Reed_CollageToday as I was celebrating life and sharing love with those who are rainbows in my life, I learned that one received his angel wings this afternoon. My heart aches not only because he succumbed to the disease he dedicated his life to treating, preventing and controlling but because I didn’t get to truly thank him lately of how he was a rainbow in my clouds. I rejoice and share with you how he impacted my life, career and well-being as a young health professional.

The Dr. Eddie Reed I knew and admired was a no-nonsense, highly published, internationally-known oncologist and researcher who worked tirelessly at his craft to develop and study platinum agents (i.e., taxol) and other anti-cancer agents for patients. In addition to his clinical work, he championed to improve minority health and eliminate health disparities through his comprehensive cancer control efforts, influencing health policy and advising federal cancer screening programs.

Although many may have encountered his hard exterior shell, I was equally privileged to get to know a strong-willed, humble man who deeply cared for his family and who was invested in the post-doctoral career and quality of life of his mentee. Dr. Reed provided me with my first position as his postdoctoral fellow at CDC and understood my plight of not being the conventional basic science Ph.D. and aided in allowing me to forge my way. I am truly thankful for him. Through his mentorship, I was able to receive a National Institutes of Health award that repaid a portion of my undergraduate loan (student loan debt free now!) and I was able to secure an Atlanta homeownership grant that paid 20% of the cost of my first home. Many may ask me why I smile and enjoy mentoring driven young ladies in the health, biomedical sciences and coach them on their career paths. Well, when you’ve had rainbows in your life like Dr. Eddie Reed, you are bound to set others up for success. Thank you Dr. Reed, I salute you and your legacy will live on.