CTE Teacher’s Personal Story Encourages Students and Spreads Pediatric Cancer Awareness

September 27, 2018

Teacher Melissa Davis’ life changed in 2013, when her daughter, Brynlee, was diagnosed with leukemia at age two and a half. Davis, who teaches Childhood Education and Development at The Tech Center, shared her story with students and teachers in the Health Career Academy on the PNW BOCES campus recently. She enlightened them with her story and educated them about the unique career opportunities open to students interested in the field of pediatric oncology.
After months of treatment, including 53 consecutive days in the hospital and countless chemo treatments, Brynlee went into remission and has been cancer-free ever since.
“I had no idea how many different types of professionals work in this field,” Davis told students. “Among countless others, there are pediatric oncologists, radiologists, researchers and child life specialists,” something Davis had not heard of before her daughter’s illness.
“Child life specialists work with pediatric patients by bringing them toys, cooking with them—basically doing anything the kids want to do,” Davis said. “It can be pretty boring being in a hospital room for weeks at a time, and these professionals do their best to make it fun for the kids.”
Davis also encouraged the Career and Technical Education (CTE) students and staff to wear gold on Wednesday, September 26, which they did as part of Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month.
Davis expressed to students the qualities she most appreciated in the healthcare professionals working with her family. “The nurses became part of our family,” she said. “As people interested in the healthcare field, it is so important to be good listeners, empathetic, and to realize that these families are going through the hardest time of their lives.”
Melissa Davis speaks (center) and staff at PNW BOCES wear gold in support of Pediatric Cancer Awareness.