It seems like the 23 years that have gone by since the 1977 batch joined St. John's have flown by all too quickly, but the memories remain fresh. Memories of the treasures life gives us to get to know and be a part of the lives of some wonderful and gracious people. Francis Noel Fernandes was one such person who was taken away from our midst much too quickly. As I look back on those years with the help of some precious photographs, Noel, as he was fondly known to us, will always be remembered as one who was so full of life, who was always ready to enjoy a good laugh, and who grew to be a truly sincere and dedicated physician, and a much loved son, brother, husband and friend. After all our days at St Johns, those carefree days in the Hostel, and the good training at college and the hospital, Noel had worked hard and succeeded and was soon to start a distinguished career and Practice in Cardiology in Atlanta, Georgia. When he was accepted as a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology in 1996, it was a source of great pride and a sense of fulfillment, and the next step in what would be a long and fruitful career. But fate had its own plans, and soon after that Noel was diagnosed with cancer and had a short but devastating and painful struggle, losing that battle three years ago this July.
As Saint John’s moves ahead with plans to become a Cardiac Center, it seems fitting to keep alive Noel's Dream and honor his ever-willing nature to give his best to all who needed his help. The Francis Noel Fernandes Corpus fund will be a way to help fund poor patients who need Cardiac health care at St. John's, and in doing so will keep the memory and wishes of a gentle and good hearted Saint Johnnite alive. (Donations to build up this Fund can be made out to Friends of St. John's. All friends and well-wishers of Noel Fernandes, and those who would like to promote care to the needy are encouraged to support this cause. )