Larry Brilliant, The Hippie Doctor That Helped Cure Smallpox

InterestingShitPublished: August 6, 201753 views
Published: August 6, 2017

This is the story of the hippie doctor that helped cure smallpox. Dr. Lawrence ‘Larry’ Brilliant was a former doctor for the Grateful Dead, who showed that spirituality and compassion can be key to medical breakthroughs.

He attended one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s lectures in 1962 and it changed a teenage Brilliant’s life forever. King’s lecture inspired Brilliant to do everything he could to assist those in need of help all around the world. It was a moment that led to the future doctor’s focus on global activism and awareness.

Larry Brilliant marched in civil rights rallies. He protested alongside the Native Americans on Alcatraz island.

While on a pilgrimage across the Himalayas in 1972, one Hindu guru told Brilliant his destiny: to find the cure for one of worst pandemics the human race has ever encountered - smallpox. This inspired the young 27-year-old doctor to leave for New Delhi and join the World Health Organization. A few years later, Brilliant would lead a WHO team that will be key in the eradication of the disease.

Today, his own SEVA foundation has helped 4 million blind people see again. “Seva” means “service to others” in Sanskrit.

He has been the executive director of Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org. He also chaired the Skoll Global Threats fund, continuing his fight against global pandemics.

In essence, Dr. Larry Brilliant is proof that caring for people can make the world a better place.

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