Sixteen-year-old Jonathan wanted to be a pediatrician when he “grew up” and was excited to be accepted into Rady Children’s Medical Academy, a program that provides high-school age students with unique and exciting opportunities to explore the world of health care through lectures, skills clinics, hands-on activities, group projects, career panels and interactive discussions.
Every day when Jonathan’s parents dropped him off at the Medical Academy, they watched the families crossing the sidewalk in front of the Acute Care Pavilion on their way to treatment, the children often masked and bald – not knowing that they would find themselves in their shoes. Jonathan returned to Rady Children’s just two weeks after the conclusion of the Medical Academy, this time as a patient.
Jonathan was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma after a lump on his clavicle didn’t stop growing. Jonathan persevered through treatment, often inspired by the patients much younger than he was that fought to beat their diagnosis each day.
Now that Jonathan has completed treatment, he remains actively involved in SOMFAB, (Some of My Best Friends Are Bald), Rady Children’s support group for teens, and is pursuing a career as an oncology nurse so he can be intimately involved in the front line of caring for children with cancer in the hospital, administering chemo to save their lives, but also using warmth and humor to help them through the daily process in the same way the amazing nurses in Oncology helped him. Jonathan recently started his first year of nursing school having graduated as the valedictorian of his high school last spring.