This Childhood Cancer Survivor Returned to the Hospital Where She Spent Her Youth — This Time to Save Lives

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Sometimes a story just makes you feel good. The kind of good where you smile through tears and for a moment believe that things are going to be alright. This is one of those stories.

Montana just started a job at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, aka CHOA, as a nurse in the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. This is the job she’s always dreamed of. The only job she ever wanted. But it’s not her first time at the cancer center.

At age 2, she was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare childhood cancer of the connective tissue. Montana underwent chemotherapy and spent a year in and out of the Atlanta hospital. She was too young to really remember the wonderful care she received from the nursing staff, but her parents remember it well. Years later, at the age of 15, Montana’s cancer returned and she returned to CHOA. This time, the nurses left an indelible impression.

She decided that she wanted to do for others what those nurses had done for her. She wanted to be able to help children feel comfortable, cared for, less afraid. She so appreciated what the staff did for her that she wanted to pay it forward.

Montana recognizes that she’s in the unique position to understand her patients on another level. And to give them hope. “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 explains.  

Montana’s story is spreading far and wide. And why not? It has all the hallmarks of a feel-good human interest story, and we need as many of those as we can get!

With articles appearing on news sites across the internet, people everywhere are choking back tears and sharing news links about Montana. There has been a tremendous outpouring of congratulations, well wishes, and blessings from all corners of the world.

Montana is walking the walk, so to speak. Not many people decide something at such a young age and follow through. Her passion for her new career and employer is clear, and the staff at CHOA recognizes her for it.

Thankfully, the world has Montana and others like her. Her story is inspiring because it shows the best of what we can be. We can overcome terrible obstacles. We can follow through on promises. We can achieve our dreams. And sometimes, our dreams are simply to help and care for other people.

And it’s truly uplifting. As many divisions as we may have, as many barriers to finding common ground, sometimes we find something we can all relate to. A child surviving cancer, twice, who goes on to become a pediatric nurse in that very same hospital? YES PLEASE!

We can only guess at the impact Montana may have on the young people she treats. If her nurses inspired her to follow her path, who knows what she might inspire in others? More pediatric nurses? Research scientists? Doctors? Or maybe some other dream that a kid dealing with illness might have otherwise given up on. Montana herself responded to the outpouring of support.

She’s humble too. She’s come so far and still has her whole life ahead of her. There is no limit to what she can achieve.

We wish her all the best in her new career, and hope that more doors open for her than close along the way. We know her story is inspiring others already, and have faith that she has a lot more inspiration in store. Thank you, Montana, for being the good news we all needed to hear!