Nurse pays it forward after daughter is diagnosed with leukemia

Woman becomes nurse after daughter's illness

 Mary Prokop is a pediatric oncology nurse at St. Mary's Medical Center. She provides care for not only kids who are being treated for  cancer, but to their families, too. 

"One mom said you get it. Yes, I know. I have slept on those pull out beds. I know what it's like to sit there and see your child get injected with toxic chemicals. I know what it's like to lay here in the middle of the night. I know what it's like to be isolated."
 
Mary's personal experience has prepared her for this job. Her daughter Kate was diagnosed with leukemia in 2008. The care her daughter Kate received inspired Mary to become a nurse.

"I needed to find a new career for financial stability and also something that I knew I would be giving back because of what Kate has been through. I have always felt a need that I need to give back to the world a little bit of something that was given to me," said Mary.

Nine-year-old Kate, who is now in remission, knows her mother is paying it forward. Kate said, "Because she is helping other people like me."  

Doctors like Vinay Saxena are thankful for Mary.

"I am sure what she has seen and what she has gone through, the treatment is I think especially the parents part of what they go through and more than her nursing skills I think she should be able to pass on that part because she herself has been on the other side," said Saxena.

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