Why I open-sourced cures to my cancer: Salvatore Iaconesi at TEDGlobal 2013


Cancer was a big part of our last year. This story is remarkable.

Originally posted on TED Blog:

“This was my cancer,” TED Fellow Salvatore Iaconesi begins his TEDGlobal talk, showing a slide of brain scans taken last summer, when he was diagnosed with brain cancer at age 39.

Since the moment Iaconesi heard the word “cancer” come out of his doctors’ mouth, he noticed something — that the way people related to him turned on a dime.

“When you have something as serious as cancer, your life disappears and you are replaced by a disease,” he says. “Doctors start speaking a language which you don’t understand and which is not really meant for you to understand. Your friends and family start saying, ‘What did the doctors say?’ before they even say hello. You become a disease on legs.”

Iaconesi — an artist and open-source engineer — felt an intense desire to get his medical records and brain scans, to be able to “see what was growing inside…

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