I have a tough time walking through Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital now,” Sam Gambhir says. But the experience also deepened his empathy for other parents. “I think I was always empathetic toward illness,” he says, “but not as empathetic as I am now, knowing what it’s like to have a sick child.” Around the time Milan had his second surgery, “I remember seeing a parent in the hospital with a small baby who had a brain tumor,” Gambhir says. “It was so good to be able to try to talk to them and comfort them. It also made me appreciate how lucky we were that Milan made it to 16 years.

— Sam Gambhir