When a child has cancer, there’s always a fear that they’ll never get the chance to grow up and live to the fullest.
But one former patient’s encouraging story is proof there’s hope to overcome the disease and go on to be a success—and maybe even get the chance to give back to the world.
When Jen Pratt, from Minneapolis, was just 11 years old, she was diagnosed with bone cancer and had to undergo a lengthy treatment at Children’s Minnesota Saint Paul Hospital.
“I had about a year of chemotherapy and surgery to remove a tumor in my leg,” Pratt told CBS Minnesota.
But Pratt kept a positive attitude, and was always looking ahead to a brighter future.
She was granted a “wish” by the Make-a-Wish Foundation, and as a big fan of the movie Beauty and the Beast, chose to visit Disney to meet the animators. That excitement kept her going through her medical care.
“I remember really looking forward to it and counting down the chemotherapy treatments I had, thinking, ‘OK, this many more treatments and then I get to go on my wish trip,’” she said.
Soon, Pratt’s chemotherapy treatments were complete and she was cancer-free, but the help and support she received during the ordeal left her motivated to pay-it-forward someday.
“I wanted to give back and support other families the way that I felt so supported,” she said.
And from that young age, she felt she had found her calling:
“From that point on I knew that I wanted to go into medicine.”
Twenty years have passed since Pratt battled cancer—and in that time, she’s made good on her promise and has become a doctor herself.
But what’s really remarkable is where she’s working now:
The exact hospital where she was treated!
Not only does Dr. Pratt get to give back and help cancer patients like herself, but she gets to do it in the very same place.
“Some of the nurses that I had during my treatment are still nurses at Children’s, so I actually get to work with them,” she said.
In addition, she will soon be going down to Florida to volunteer at the Give Kids the World resort, the same place she stayed during her Disney wish two decades ago.
It’s an inspiring story, and proof of the impact programs helping sick kids can have—not just during their treatments, but throughout their lives.
“It’s really incredible to be able to walk down these halls and feel like I’m delivering the care that I felt so impacted by as a child,” she told CBS.
“And honestly, it’s a privilege to be able to work here. I love it. I love my job.”