An email came in late in the day on Halloween. A “Mr. Chucklesworth” had visited the Martinos Center, the email said, and had apparently had quite the afternoon.
When I opened the photos attached to the message, I discovered that Mr. Chuckleworth was in fact a small, form-grown pumpkin sort of dressed like a clown. And that he had not only visited the Center, but also actually undergone an MRI.
Intrigued, I reached out to Oliver Ramsay, the friend to pumpkins who had emailed me. Oliver is a PET technologist in the Martinos core staff: a team of technologists and other vital staff who maintain the scanners and facilitate research studies throughout the center.
He replied and said he had come across the form-grown pumpkin while pumpkin picking on Sunday. “I had never seen one before,” he continued, “so I got it and painted it. I brought it to the center just as a little office decoration and then my coworker told me it is normal to scan pineapples and other fruits, so I decided I’d try to run some scans on it.”
Mr. Chucklesworth might disagree with the “just a little office decoration” tag. But that doesn’t mean he didn’t also enjoy his visit. In fact, he found the entire experience to be a pleasant one.
“The study staff at the center were wonderful and understanding,” he said in a message relayed by Oliver. “They tried to set me up in a smaller more focused coil, but my stem was in the way. I was worried they were going ask me to remove my stem or trim it, but they understood that a pumpkin’s stem is very important to a pumpkin’s family heritage, so they set me up in a bigger coil to do the scan. I’d definitely return to the center for more scans and recommend the center to my other pumpkin friends.”
Check out the photos from Mr. Chucklesworth’s big adventure and video from his scans below.