24-year-old Montana Brown recently became a registered nurse in Atlanta, Georgia. What led Brown to become a nurse is as inspiring as it is heartbreaking. Brown suffered cancer twice as a child, but recovered and achieved her dream of giving others the help and compassion she had needed during her struggle.
Brown spoke ABC News about her time at the AFLAC Cancer Center in Atlanta. “The nurses here were extremely loving and caring and compassionate. The love they showed me and my family in our time of need just really helped me. It helped me want to become as kind and as caring and as compassionate as they were for me.”
Doctors first detected cancer when Brown was just two-years-old. Doctors diagnosed her with a rare type of cancer of the connective tissue that occurs in children, called rhabdomyosarcoma. Brown and her family spent countless hours in the medical center, while she received chemotherapy. After a year of treatment, the toddler officially entered remission.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t over. At age 15, at the end of her freshmen year in high school, doctors once again detected cancer in Brown. She began weekly treatments of chemo and radiation. “I had just tried out for my high school cheerleading team… There weren’t symptoms but my mom and dad could tell that something was different about me and they knew that something was a little off.”
As Brown entered remission once again and regained her life as a normal teenager, she reflected on her journey and set her eyes on helping other kids with cancer. Brown explained, “I would always say, ‘I’m only going to nursing school to do pediatric oncology, like I don’t want to do anything else. I don’t want to work anywhere else…And so it’s kind of crazy how full circle it’s come so far.”
Now healthy and happy, Brown has finished nursing school and got a job as a staff nurse at the AFLAC Cancer Center, the same hospital where she received life-saving treatment during her two terrible scares. She uses her experiences to reassure patients that she knows what they are going through.
“I really wanted to be that person where when I said, ‘Hey, I totally understand. This is where I was. This is where I am now.’ That me and my patients would form a bond,” she said. “I’m not walking through the doors as a patient anymore. I am walking through as a staff member.”
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