Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ice Bound Doctor Passes Away

Dr. Jerri Nielsen, whose struggle with breast cancer while stranded at the South Pole a decade ago was the subject of a book and TV-movie, has passed away at the age of 57.

Members of the U.S. Air Force risked their lives to air drop drugs and equipment to Nielsen after she performed a biopsy on herself and received a cancer diagnosis. Months later she was able to be airlifted from the South Pole.

As an "armchair adventurer" who enjoys reading about remote locations such as Mount Everest and the South Pole, I found Nielsen's book a very interesting read. I was fascinated by her descriptions of the unique lifestyles of South Pole scientists and support personnel, who are separated from the rest of the world by weather conditions for months at a time.

Susan Sarandon played Nielsen in a 2003 TV-movie. Sarandon was excellent, although -- as is so often the case -- I felt that the book was better than the movie.

I was sorry to learn that Nielsen's fight with cancer resumed in 2005.

Update: A good story on Nielsen is here.


Blogger Mrs. Happy Housewife said...

How sad! I remember Dr. Nielsen but I had not heard her cancer had returned.

BTW, there is an episode of Stargate where sick scientists are stranded in Antarctica and I've always wondered if Dr. Nielsen inspired the plot.

10:41 AM  
Blogger Irene said...

I remember that story vividly. As you can imagine, I always hate to hear when someone's cancer returns :(

10:46 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Irene, I can certainly understand that feeling. Once should be more than enough for anyone to deal with!

Mrs. HH, I'll be sure to ask my daughter "gategirl" about that episode. :) I was unaware of it. Sure sounds like Dr. Nielsen's real-life experience could have started the ball rolling on creating that plot.

Best wishes,

11:06 AM  

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