Alumnus Scott Norris’ story of his battle with cancer hit national airwaves earlier this week after making its debut in a UCSB psychology classroom last spring.
The 30-minute segment is a recording of a guest lecture by Scott Norris — who graduated from UCSB with a BA in Psychology in 1988 — detailing his experiences fighting a very aggressive form of brain cancer. “Scott Norris: Coping with Illness” will air daily until this Sunday on UCTV Channel 21. Live streams and podcasts are available on the UCTV Web site and YouTube.com as well.
During Spring Quarter, Norris spoke in professor David Sherman’s Health Psychology course to offer students a first-hand account of living with brain cancer. Norris’s lecture — which Sherman initially recorded just for future classes — traces his experiences with cancer, beginning with his diagnosis, surgery and radiation therapy, and ultimately, his time in recovery.
Sherman said the segment is a vital teaching tool for his class, allowing students to see the theories they study in a real-world situation.
“One student noted that through the video, you can see Scott get a bit tired, and Scott also describes the process of the debilitating fatigue that comes with his illness,” Sherman said. “It really hits home because he is getting tired as he talks about how he gets tired.”
Although the lecture was not originally recorded with the intent to be broadcast, it was edited over the summer so it would be suitable to air on UCTV. Norris said he thought UCSB students should have the opportunity to watch his story, and was initially surprised by the decision to nationally televise it.
“I knew ahead of time it would be recorded, but never imagined it would end up being viewed nationwide,” Norris said. “I just thought it would be great if professor Sherman could show it once a year in his Health Psychology class.”
In his segment, Norris — who has gone nine years without a recurrence of the cancer — said he hopes viewers walk away with the ability to apply the lessons he learned from his experience to their own lives.
“I’ve learned a lot coping with cancer, but I’ve found that the best and simplest ‘live’ message is to just keep getting back up,” Norris said. “The more positive things you can surround yourself to help you, physically mentally and spiritually, the easier it will be.”
Based at UC San Diego, UCTV is a 24-hour satellite-television channel that offers educational and enrichment programs from the 10 campuses within the UC system, as well as the UC managed national laboratories and all other affiliated institutions. Programs include documentaries, lectures, debates, interviews and performances.