A cancer survivor has started work as a children’s nurse at the hospital where she was diagnosed with leukaemia aged two.
Katy Payne, 21 graduated as a nurse this week before starting her job at Colchester Hospital in Essex.
She works in the same building where medics diagnosed her with leukaemia on Christmas Eve 2000 – aged just two.
She had her last check-up aged 16 after being given the all-clear aged five and was determined to give something back.
She said that her wish to become a nurse began during her treatment when she told her mum “I will become a nurse and make all the children better like they help me”.
The new graduate, of Fingringhoe, Essex, said: “Initially it was thought I had an ear infection, but I had been feeling sick and lethargic and my parents had been concerned.
“They called the GP to our house and I ended up being rushed to hospital.
“I was diagnosed on Christmas Eve and on Boxing Day I was transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridgeshire.
“By that point my skin was yellow and my lips were blue.”
Katy underwent treatment at both hospitals for two and a half years, losing her hair twice due to chemotherapy and other medication.
Katy said: “I remember patches of my time in hospital and some of the highs and lows.
“The things I experienced have made me stronger, and I have always said I would like to give something back to the hospital, the doctors and the nurses, and everyone that’s been part of my journey.”
She added: “My mum always tells me that I woke up from a lumbar puncture and I looked at her with my bald head and smiley face and said ‘mum, when I’m older I will become a nurse and make all the children better like they help me’.”
Katy graduated alongside fellow children’s nursing students from Anglia Ruskin University’s Chelmsford campus in the Essex city’s cathedral.
The ceremony took place the day after Katy started her first permanent nursing role within Colchester Hospital’s Children’s Assessment Unit.
She added: “I’m so excited to become a children’s nurse and be able to share my story with those families who are going through similar situations to my own, to show them how things can change in a positive way.”
The young nurse hopes to specialise in children’s oncology to help youngsters beat cancer, like she did almost two decades ago.