“After graduating from college, I moved to Boston to work as a research assistant at Boston Children’s Hospital, hopeful that this experience would help guide my career goals.

I never imagined that becoming a cancer patient at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute that year would have the most profound impact on my long-term career goals. I started thinking about oncology nursing during my treatment when one of my nurses shared her experience with cancer at 22-years-old. Shortly after treatment ended, I took an opportunity to coordinate clinical trials in the pediatric bone marrow transplant program at the Farber and quickly found a passion for pediatric oncology care. Through my experience as an adult patient and pediatric employee, I gained insight into how cancer care systems both succeed and fail to address adolescent and young adult cancer care and delivery needs. As a future nurse practitioner, I plan to care for patients as they face the unique challenges of having cancer in their youth- specifically in survivorship and fertility preservation. I am excited to start my nursing career at the first-ever hospital for children, and I am hopeful for a world without cancer.”

–Lauren Leonard, Nu’19, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing