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Woodshop Pioneer Hand-Makes Guitar for Rock-Star Doctor Who Saved His Life

Posted by on Sep 26, 2017 in Cancer, Other Adult Services, Sutter Health Sacramento Sierra Region, Sutter Roseville Medical Center | 0 comments

Woodshop teacher Duane Calkins, who pioneered a class that makes electric guitars, presented David Yee, M.D., MPH, of Sutter Roseville Medical Center with a handmade guitar for saving his life from prostate cancer.

ROSEVILLE, Calif. — Duane Calkins revived middle-school woodshop by teaching students how to make electric guitars. Earlier this year, after the Roseville teacher was diagnosed with prostate cancer, Sutter Roseville Medical Center urologist and cancer surgeon David Yee, M.D., MPH, used another high-tech, souped-up instrument to save Calkins’ life.

Calkins started teaching his Woodshop Rocks class at Buljan Middle School a dozen years ago, and his students have since made more than 5,000 guitars, making his class the largest manufacturer of guitars in Northern California. Not bad for an industrial-arts course that was dying because students weren’t interested in making cutting boards and birdhouses anymore. Calkins has since taught dozens of other woodshop instructors around the nation to teach guitar-building, reviving this nearly lost art.

Late in 2016, though, Calkins’ life hit a sour chord; he was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of prostate cancer. Like a virtuoso, David Yee, M.D., earlier this year used the da Vinci robotic surgical instrument at Sutter Roseville Medical Center to remove his prostate, and Calkins went from having Stage 3 prostate cancer to being cancer-free today.

To say thank you, Calkins hand-made a special, paisley-imprinted guitar that he presented Monday, Sept. 25, to Dr. Yee for saving his life. Dr. Yee brought some of the da Vinci “arms” to explain to Calkins and students how the robot assisted him to create a surgical masterpiece that is minimally invasive and gets patients back to doing what they love much quicker. That meant that, in getting to teach his students to make guitars, Calkins barely missed a beat.

Posted by on Sep 26, 2017 in Cancer, Other Adult Services, Sutter Health Sacramento Sierra Region, Sutter Roseville Medical Center | 0 comments