Through My Eyes: Pediatric Oncology Staff Dedicated to Kids Fighting Cancer
“Through My Eyes” is a series in which those affected by childhood cancer share a behind-the-scenes look into the ripple effect cancer has in their lives. Our goal is to raise $50,000 for rare pediatric cancer research in the month of September. Become aware & donate. [Presented by Atrium Health Levine Children’s]
- Perspective: Pediatric Oncology Staff
- Hospital: Atrium Health Levine Children’s
Meet Hailey Weber:
Hailey is a certified child life specialist in the Levine Children’s pediatric hematology and oncology outpatient center. Her day-to-day job consists of providing support and distraction for patients and their families who are going through treatment. She focuses on educating her patients in child-friendly language, supporting them through procedures, and being a friendly face through their treatment journey.
Growing up, Hailey always had a love for children and knew one day she would work with them in some capacity. Her love for pediatrics first bloomed because her mom was a pediatric nurse. Then, her family received life-altering news when her brother was diagnosed with cancer. During this time, Hailey felt the support from the whole staff in the pediatric oncology world, and it sealed the deal for her that she wanted to work in pediatric hematology and oncology.
When asked what her favorite part of her job is, there was no hesitation, “my patients,” she said. “These kids are going through the most life-altering experience, but just want to live their life and play. I love the children who are still sassy and always keep us on my toes. The ones who just want to be treated like everyone else, even though they are going through something so different than any other child their age. They bring me joy every day and make waking up and coming to work exciting. The patients are truly the best part of my job.”
In Hailey’s own words, foundations like ISF are so important because they focus on making treatments better and changing the lives of patients we are working with TODAY. This drive and fight for these children are what will make a difference.
When Hailey isn’t at work, you can find her spending time with family and enjoying the great outdoors, whether it’s hiking, running, or just a walk around the neighborhood.
Meet Lindsay Lee:
When Lindsay Lee was only 8 years old, she suffered the unimaginable. She lost her father to cancer. During that time, Lindsay spent countless hours in the hospital with her dad and became close with his nurses. It was then that she realized she wanted to become an oncology nurse, and now, she is living her dream! Today, Lindsay is a registered nurse at Levine Children’s and a recently promoted clinical supervisor. Each day she takes care of bone marrow transplant, hematology, and oncology patients and their families.
It’s easy to feel the love that Lindsay has for her job. When asked if she had a favorite memory with a patient, she said there are so many to choose from that it’s hard to pick just one, but there is a special memory that sticks out. She continued, “I had a patient that would ask me to take him on wheelchair rides. We would ride around the unit and talk! He had the best personality, a contagious laugh, and we had the best conversations! On one ride, we sprayed the other nurses with flushes and had the best time!” She feels it’s a blessing to get to become so close with her patients and their families, and while there are hard days, being a part of celebrations, inside jokes, end-of-treatment parties, and the whole journey is what inspires her every single day.
It’s never easy to think about sick kids and childhood cancer, but it’s an unfortunate reality for many families. Foundations like ISF are so important in the fight to end cancer, and like Lindsay explains, to raise awareness and research funds. She goes on to say, “ISF puts these kids in the limelight and shows just how real the disease can be, but there are ways to help. ISF raises a significant amount of money for research so we can develop more pediatric friendly treatments, and hopefully, cures!”
When Lindsay isn’t working, she enjoys going on hikes with her fiancé, Josh, and their lab, Wylie. She also enjoys traveling, crafting, and spending time with family.
Meet Lauren Brown:
Today we’re introducing you to Lauren Brown, MSN, CPNP-AC, chief advanced practice provider (APP) for the Levine Children’s pediatric cancer and blood disorders program. She’s the APP for The Isabella Santos Foundation rare and solid tumor program and is also the MIBG lead. In her previous role, she worked on the inpatient cancer and blood disorders unit, so she’s done it all! She recently celebrated 20 years with Atrium Health – wow!
Lauren went into nursing for the best reason – she enjoys helping people. She spent six months in a primary care practice before being approached about a switch to hematology/oncology…and after her first shift, she was hooked! She knew that’s where she was called to be.
Her job can be hard – there’s no getting around it. Sometimes, patients don’t have the outcome that Lauren and her team all fight so hard to achieve. Those times are heartbreaking and humbling, but they also provide her the motivation to do better, work harder and bring better treatment options to her patients. And there are PLENTY of good days too. Many more good days than bad! There are moments of laughter with patients, like playing pranks on the staff. They also love to have fashion shows, make bracelets and choreograph dances. Celebratory milestones, like first steps and graduations (anywhere from kindergarten to college) are always so special, as is seeing pictures of former patients with their own children. She’s also written letters of recommendation for former patients that are now pursuing a nursing career – that’s such a beautiful moment and makes her so proud of all they have accomplished.
In her words, “ISF is so incredibly important not only to our hospital, but our community. Through the gracious support of ISF and their supporters, our pediatric cancer program has grown exponentially. We are able to bring exciting new clinical trials and grow our provider team, allowing us to care for even more patients. Some of these patients travel to us from far distances to seek out the care we provide. To see how our program has grown over the years and the services we’re able to offer to patients is largely thanks to ISF and community support.”
In Lauren’s free time, she loves spending time with her husband, Ryan, and her own three children: Hayes, Lila and Miles. She also likes cooking, walking their dog Macy, going to the beach and riding her Peloton cycling bike!
*** THROUGH MY EYES: THIS IS CHILDHOOD CANCER SERIES