A childhood cancer survivor has come full circle and is now changing lives at the same hospital that helped her survive. Dr. Samantha Lee, 31, was diagnosed with leukemia when she was just eight years old. She underwent rigorous treatment and spent months in the hospital.
Now, two decades later, Dr. Lee is a pediatric oncologist at the same hospital where she received treatment as a child - St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
"I remember how scared I was during my treatments," said Dr. Lee in an interview with our reporter. "But seeing the doctors and nurses who cared for me every day inspired me to pursue medicine so that I could help children going through similar experiences."
Dr. Lee completed her medical degree at Harvard University before returning to St. Jude as a resident physician in pediatrics and then completing a fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology.
As part of her work at St. Jude, Dr. Lee regularly treats patients with blood disorders and cancers such as leukemia - the disease that she herself battled as a child.
"Having been through this experience myself helps me understand what these families are going through," said Dr. Lee.
Her colleagues say that having someone like Dr.Lee on staff makes all the difference for families whose children are undergoing cancer treatment.
"Dr.Lee is an amazing doctor who brings hope to our patients," said one of her colleagues who preferred not to be named due to patient confidentiality rules."She knows firsthand what they're experiencing and can connect with them on another level."
For Dr.Lee, being able to give back by helping other children facing similar struggles has made everything worthwhile.
"I feel so blessed that I get to do this work every day," she said."It's truly humbling."