“I fell in love with my work because I really enjoy taking care of children with cancer. Being able to put a smile on their face was always very rewarding for me.”
Everyone’s experience with pLGG is unique and will vary from individual to individual.
Pediatric Hematologist/Oncologist at Day One
Why I Chose Pediatric Oncology
My childhood dream was to become a veterinary doctor so that I could take care of animals. I went to Tufts University to study biology. Later, I realized that veterinary work is, sadly, not only about healing animals. Putting animals to sleep was something I would never be able to do. So, I decided to further my education in human medicine and went to Yale Medical School.
When I started at Yale, I thought I would become an OB/GYN specializing in high-risk pregnancies. However, during my required summer research rotation, I met a pediatric cardiologist, who was also the head of the pediatric residency program. His enthusiasm for his work and patients and for teaching spurred my interest in pediatric medicine, and his work has forever inspired me.
During my pediatric residency at Tufts-New England Medical Center, I had the opportunity to spend several months in a dedicated pediatric oncology clinical rotation. I met many children with cancer who spent long stretches of time on the ward receiving chemotherapy and undergoing bone marrow transplantation. I found myself looking forward to my days and nights on call where I could spend time getting to know my patients and their families while learning about cancer biology and caring for the patient as a whole. I fell in love with taking care of these kids and committed to provide comprehensive and compassionate care for children with cancer.
Why I’m Proud to Be a Hematologist/Oncologist
I loved visiting with my patients at night when the hustle and bustle of the hospital ward had quieted down. One of my patients was a little boy who had a toy mailbox that his parents placed outside of his room, encouraging anyone who walked by to drop him some “mail.” On my nights on call, I would print puzzles or Pokémon coloring sheets to leave in his mailbox as a surprise. I truly loved seeing the look of delight on his face the next morning when he would check his mailbox. It was a fantastic way for both him and me to start our mornings with a smile.
Another patient of mine, Amber, was 4 when she was diagnosed with leukemia. She was on a chemotherapy treatment for a couple of years, and during that time we had a special bond. Amber is now a young woman who is pursuing a career in nursing. Her experiences as a patient inspired and influenced her career choice. She says that she remembers the good experiences over the bad, and now wants to pay it forward to care for patients at the bedside.
In this line of work, there are many challenging days but bright moments as well. What I really appreciated was the ability to treat children diagnosed with cancer and make them better to the extent I could. And being able to put a smile on their face was especially rewarding. To me, that’s everything.
Impact of Day One
Though my passion was always helping patients, I also developed an interest in clinical research in order to better understand how to improve the outcomes of the young patients that I cared so much about. I eventually got my master’s degree in Medical Sciences at Harvard Medical School and had an opportunity to design and run several prospective studies in acute lymphocytic leukemia. This then opened an opportunity later to move to a biotech company where I was leading a clinical program with a team to develop and bring new cancer therapies to pediatric leukemia patients. Now, at Day One Biopharmaceuticals, I am the Senior Vice President of Clinical Research, where I get to oversee the clinical department and lead all of our clinical programs, including studies in pediatric low-grade glioma. While I no longer treat children with cancer in a clinical setting, they continue to be in my heart and at the center of everything that we do at Day One Bio.