A Dream Deferred: How A Banquet Waitress Became A Doctor At 45


Ruth Lavigne grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her father was a doctor (a radiologist) and she used to fill-in the date on patient sheets when her dad reviewed their films at home. As Ruth followed her father around his hospital, she always thought “that will be me someday.”

She ended up studying French in college and then business in graduate school. After marrying, starting a family and relocating to California, she found herself working as a banquet waitress in a San Diego hotel. She enjoyed the work and the flexible schedule which gave her time with two kids.

Ruth’s dream of becoming a doctor re-emerged one night as she held her oldest daughter Ariel in her arms and told her “you can be anything you want when you grow up.” And Ruth thought, “one day this kid is gonna look back up at me say, so you wanted to be a waitress all your life?”

With financial help from her parents and childcare support from her in-laws, she went back to school at 31 to take the necessary pre-med coursework. At 36, she returned home and entered medical school at the University of Cincinnati. At 40 she began a four-year residency to become a radiation oncologist. And at 45-years-of age, she finally became Dr. Ruth Lavigne.

Ruth’s story of persistence and overcoming obstacles is as inspirational as they come.

 

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