30 DAYS/30 STORIES® 2023
Everyone has one moment in their life that helps define them as a person. My defining moment happened to me on September 6, 2010. At age 10, my life was completely flipped upside down in what seemed to have felt like a second. Hearing the words, “You have cancer” was not something I thought I would ever have to hear. I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Undifferentiated Embryonal Sarcoma of the Liver, which is a tumor the size of a grapefruit that grew inside of my liver. I had surgery to remove my tumor and completed 9 months of aggressive chemotherapy at Lehigh Valley Hospital. I have officially been off treatment for 12 years!
When it was time to decide what I wanted to go to college for and study, it was an easy choice for me. After finishing treatment, I was determined to do whatever it takes to become a Pediatric Oncology Nurse. Being around nurses during a part of my childhood really validated why I always wanted to be a nurse. Seeing the nurses draw my blood, give me chemotherapy, and take my vitals was always so interesting for me to watch. All the nurses I was around were such positive influences on my life, and they really cared about me. I feel that I can provide the same energy to the patients I will treat - because I have had experience being in the position they are in.
After graduating high school in 2019, I decided to further my academic career at Temple University, majoring in Nursing. I completed many clinical rotations, attended classes and lectures, and spent hours… and hours… and hours of studying. When home for school breaks, I worked as a Nurse Extern in the Lehigh Valley Children’s Cancer Center. I am incredibly grateful for all the nurses and staff that gave me the opportunity to learn from them. I am also honored to share that I received the 2023 Daisy Award for Extraordinary Nursing Student from Temple University. I graduated from Temple in May 2023.
After graduating I began my Nursing career in June, working at Lehigh Valley Children’s Cancer Center, where I was treated. I am beyond thankful for the incredible opportunity to work alongside some of the nurses that treated me. I also want to thank them all for always believing in me and giving me a chance to accomplish my dream right out of nursing school. As of July, I passed my NCLEX and became officially licensed as a Registered Nurse. My heart is truly devoted to caring for the kids fighting cancer and their families. I cannot wait to continue my career and hopefully continue to give back in any way that I can. I am so grateful for my life, and the ability to impact others going through what I did.
Written by Olivia
Please consider helping children with cancer and others in our community by scheduling a blood donation at Miller-Keystone Blood Center: https://donor.giveapint.org/donor/schedules/zip