Working in the UCF College of Medicine’s Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, Dr. James Turkson has wowed many with his groundbreaking work fighting cancer.
Add Oprah Winfrey to that list.
Oprah hailed Dr. Turkson, an associate professor at the Burnett school, as a hero and invited him and his wife to attend her most special episode of each season, her “Ultimate Favorite Things” show in November.
Dr. Turkson was among dozens of special guests from across the country honored for dedicating their lives to helping others without expecting anything in return. Like the other guests, Dr. Turkson did not know he would receive special recognition from Oprah.
“When they said his name, we were like, ‘What?’ It was so surprising, so emotional, we just couldn’t believe it,” said Dr. Turkson’s wife, Jennifer, who nominated him for the honor. “And when Oprah started announcing the gifts, I still couldn’t believe it.”
Dr. Turkson and others like him were showered with 24 luxurious gifts for giving of themselves for the betterment of mankind. Among the gifts he was given – a seven-day Caribbean cruise.
The Ghana native spends long days in his Orlando laboratory at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine finding ways to destroy cancer, a disease that claimed his mother when she was only in her fifties.
“Being on Oprah was so shocking and very humbling,” Dr. Turkson said. “The attention is very nice, but I do it because it is a calling. I couldn’t help my mother, but I’m trying very hard to save others.”