‘A Ray of Sunshine’

Posted on Aug 02, 2019

The bond between cancer parents and nurses is special. They share an endurance that would exhaust marathon athletes.

As the journey continues, Cassandra Schimmoeller, M.S.N., APRN, reviews her schedule, making sure she’ll be available for Lauren’s next milestone.

In the three years since Lauren was first diagnosed with leukemia, Cassandra and Lauren’s mother, Shawna, have shared hugs, meals, tears, laughter and an unwavering determination to defeat a horrible disease. “She’s taken care of Lauren, me, Dave and Leah, since our diagnosis in 2016,” says Shawna on how much Cassandra’s empathy means to her family. “She’s my sounding board.”

Fighting cancer is a journey. A long haul. When traditional chemotherapy, radiation and a bone marrow transplant only diminished Lauren’s leukemia, Cassandra reassures the family, “You couldn’t have gotten to today without the past.” Fortunately, since this tiny warrior and her valiant parents, doctors and nurses began the fight, a new therapy has been approved. Lauren’s own T-cells–a type of immune system blood cell–will be reengineered in a laboratory to attack her cancer.

As they discuss the procedure, Cassandra says, “I’ll be there.”

She always is.

Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital nurses received Magnet® designation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center this week. Held by fewer than 8 percent of hospitals nationwide, Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital is one of only two freestanding children's hospitals in the state to receive this recognition.


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