Dubbed “Wonder Woman” by one of her “Survivor” competitors, Alison Raybould, MD, did not have the power to gain sole survivor status on the CBS TV show and win $1 million. On day 37, she was finally voted out at the final five, outlasting most of her competitors. After the completion of the show, she shared what she gained from the experience.
Read Dr. Alison Raybould’s perspective on tackling “Survivor” prior to the show airing, NKCH Physician’s Daughter Seeks to Become Sole Survivor.
The daughter of Michael W. Raybould, MD, an internal medicine physician with Meritas Health North Kansas City, Dr. Alison Raybould found playing “Survivor” transformative. “At some point on the island, I realized that only one person was going to win the title of sole survivor and that each of us had a higher purpose for playing this game,” Dr. Alison Raybould said.
That meant gaining a more profound understanding of human suffering. “My experience of starvation, cold, pain and emotional isolation pale in comparison to what my patients experience,” said Dr. Alison Raybould, who in the summer will begin a hematology and oncology fellowship at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where she currently is chief resident of internal medicine. “However, I can call to mind the emotions I felt on day 37 and empathize more profoundly with my patients.”
As the competition progressed, she found herself the underdog, facing personal attacks and clawing her way through tribal council after tribal council. “I discovered a true grit and resiliency – one I believe I have always had, but that the game unmasked even more clearly,” said Dr. Alison Raybould, who lost 28 pounds during the ordeal. “I will rely on this resiliency in the moments of death and despair in my career as an oncologist.
Throughout the competition, Dr. Alison Raybould played the game with integrity, graciousness and compassion. “I am eternally proud that through it all, I was able to keep smiling and find joy in the experience,” said Dr. Alison Raybould, who during the 37 days endured two cyclones while living in a bamboo shelter. “I have a newfound appreciation for my family and the people I love. When I felt alone on the island, my family’s love sustained me. At night, I merely had to look to the stars and know that on the other side of the globe, my family was at home supporting and encouraging me.”
If given the opportunity and the right timing, she said she would most likely play again. “There was an incandescent magic in my first experience playing ‘Survivor,’” Dr. Alison Raybould said. “I cannot help but believe I was meant to play the game with those 19 others at that particular point in my life. I don’t know if it would hold the same power on a return to the island. That being said, I feel a call to go back and to live in that way again. Plus, as Mike White (another competitor) said on the show, I am the ‘most competitive person’ and I haven’t won yet, so I still need to tackle that item on my to-do list.”
As for her next great adventure, she looks forward to starting her hematology and oncology fellowship. “I could not be more excited to stay at the institution that has given me so much professionally and personally,” Dr. Alison Raybould said. “I look forward to simply doctoring without all the excitement of ‘Survivor.’”
After the Show
Watch Dr. Alison Raybould share her reflections immediately post-game in this YouTube video. After a debriefing and medical examination, she was led to Ponderosa, where she shared dinner with her former competitors and gained some creature comforts.