Coming full circle: Dr. Ben Carson kicks off 25th anniversary of Florida Forum

Women’s Board of Wolfson Children’s Hospital celebrates legacy of caring for children


Dr. Ben Carson believes God has a sense of humor.

The acclaimed pediatric neurosurgeon – famed for being the first doctor to successfully separate twins conjoined at the head – told attendees at his Florida Forum presentation Oct. 25 that as a youth he struggled both academically and with a temper that threatened to send his life down a dark and troubled path. After praying that God would grant him wisdom, Carson found his perspective transformed by reading from the book of Proverbs, which was written by King Solomon.

“My middle name is Solomon,” Carson noted. “So God knew that I was going to have an affinity for the book of Proverbs and Solomon.”

The connection went even further. “Solomon was famous for his wisdom and for telling the two women who fought over a baby to divide it in half,” he continued. “And that’s how I became very well known – for dividing a baby. So, I think God has a sense of humor!”

Carson’s story held particular significance for members of The Women’s Board of Wolfson Children’s Hospital, which was founded in the 1970s after twin girls Annie and Abbie Martin were born prematurely and the hospital lacked the equipment needed to care for both infants. As a result, Abbie lived just eight days. Since that time, The Women’s Board has raised more than $28 million to support the hospital’s program and equipment needs through fundraising events such as the Florida Forum speaker series.

Thanks in part to that support, in 2015 Wolfson Children’s Hospital was the facility at which conjoined twins Conner and Carter Mirabal were successfully separated. Now at home with their parents, the twins were backstage briefly at Carson’s Florida Forum presentation – an experience that organizers said felt like The Women’s Board had “come full circle.”

“What a poignant evening this is for us,” said Grace Sarber, president of The Women’s Board and the older sister of Annie and Abbie Martin. “To have this renowned pediatric neurosurgeon visit our hospital and to hear about his life and his perspective on medicine, it was really just the perfect way to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Florida Forum.”

Robin Albaneze, who co-chairs the Florida Forum series with Judy D’Antignac, agreed. “To have Dr. Carson here and to see how far we’ve come,” she said, “it just makes your heart sing.”

Harnessing potential

Carson said the most rewarding part of his recent presidential campaign was having an opportunity to meet some of the 15,000 patients on whom he operated during his 29-year career as a pediatric neurosurgeon. At an appearance in Kentucky, for example, Carson was approached by a family who pointed to a young man in his 20s and said, “Do you recognize this young man?...You operated on his brain when he was a year old and he just graduated from college, number one in his class.”

At another event, a young woman told Carson, “You operated on me when I was still in my mother’s womb.”

“That’s why no one will ever convince me that what’s in a woman’s womb is a meaningless bunch of cells,” Carson said.

Carson also addressed the nation’s currently political climate and stressed that Americans must be unified if our country and its people are to realize their full potential.

“We the American people are not each other’s enemies,” he said. “Because there really are people out there who want to destroy us.”America is unique on the world stage, Carson said, because our founding documents are based on Judeo-Christian values and an inherent belief in right and wrong that is currently being sacrificed at the altar of political correctness.

“The secular progressive movement, they don’t care if you disagree with them as long as you sit down and shut up,” he said. “If America is to remain ‘One Nation Under God,’ then it’s time for people who believe that to stand up and shout out.”

In order for America to remain competitive with other countries, Carson said, it is imperative for all Americans to have the opportunity to climb out of poverty and become part of the fabric of society.

“When we look at the myriad young people wasting time, we begin to understand how important it is for us to cultivate that talent,” he said. “And isn’t that what real success is – using the talent God has given you to elevate other people?”

The 25th anniversary season of the Florida Forum continues on Jan. 30, 2017 with a presentation by FOX News Anchor Megyn Kelly. The series will conclude March 13, 2017 with an evening with Tim Tebow.