• An 8-Year-Old’s Open Letter to Social Workers


    For my fellow social workers: We are rarely acknowledged for our hard work and, at times, I think we all wonder if we make a difference. I talked a little to my daughter about this topic, and she wanted to write “the social workers” a thank you letter. She knows her story: that she was abused ...

  • Going Bald: My Patients Don’t Have a Choice, But I Do


    Nine thousand. In the 23 years I’ve been a pediatric oncology nurse, that’s how many kids I’ve seen diagnosed with cancer. While every story is unique, the start of chemotherapy triggers a common chapter. They lose their hair. It’s a badge nobody wants to wear; a constant reminder of the battle at hand. In an ...

  • From Sickle Cell to the Stage


    Vanessa Gissel came into this world with sickle cell disease and a love for dance. At age 7, Vanessa suffered a near-fatal battle with acute chest syndrome, a common side effect of sickle cell disease. Though it meant time away from school and dance, a bone marrow transplant offered the best possible future for Vanessa. ...

  • Pint-Sized Ninja Thanks Caregivers


    In the fall of 2013, Joshua’s family was gearing up for the holidays with their happy, healthy 3-year-old. Then, in just a matter of hours, a few blisters turned into Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a life-threatening condition that left every inch of his tiny body in pain. I’d been a nurse for more ...

  • How a Boy with a Cape Defeated a Building and Inspired a City

    Super DJ

    There once was a boy named DJ. Fueled by the ferocious curiosity of a toddler, DJ accidentally swallowed a harmful cleaning solution. To regain his strength, DJ underwent more than 20 surgeries and spent six months in the hospital. Like many young patients before him, DJ powered through medical procedures by channeling his ...

  • From the NICU to the Moon

    Future Astronaut

    Nestled safely in their homes, babies often fall asleep to lullabies about twinkling stars and jumping sheep. In a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), babies fall asleep to steady beeps from monitors and whispered conversations between parents and caregivers. As a NICU nurse, I have the privilege of caring for babies who ...