Litchfield graduate Kelsey Law was hoping for a scholarship when she applied for St. Louis Children's Hospital's 2018 Susan Goddard Nursing Scholarship, but Laws passion and path to her career got her much more than a monetary award.
Law, who plans to graduate from SIU-Edwardsville in 2019, was one of three winners of the $2,500 scholarship and impressed the interview panel enough to earn a job interview. The day before Law's interview, she was at St. Louis Children's Hospital to accept her scholarship, giving an acceptance speech that detailed her journey and the inspiration she took from Faith Hartzell's battles with cancer.
"After her inspiring speech and at the huddle the next day, I heard people saying, 'Somebody should hire her.' We did," Sue Flake, RN, hematology/oncology manager, said in a story for the BJC Health Care newsletter. Following her dream and continuing Faith's legacy, Law was hired as a patient care technician in the hematology/oncology unit.
"Kelsey is going to be a wonderful addition to your team," Faith's mother, Stacy Lamb said in the BJC article. "Faith spent many days and nights there at Children's, and we would have loved to have had Kelsey as a nurse."
The complete article can be found at bjc.us.newsweaver.com/newsletter/jecihm60hon. Law's acceptance speech is below.
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Deciding what to study proved to be an incredibly difficult task for me. I went to college with my best friend, who was a nursing major, and just did nursing with her as a filler until I figured out what I really wanted to do.
There were several meetings I attended that were required by freshman nursing admits and over and over I heard the words, "This is going to be the toughest thing you ever do. Only the truly passionate will survive." My second semester, I changed to elementary education.
There's something to be said about the difference in how I felt as soon as I switched majors. When everyone asked what my major was, even though it was a path I was unsure of before, I felt proud to respond with nursing. Now, when I said elementary education, something didn't feel right.
I was part of the education major for three semesters. Within that time, I learned a lot about how to work with kids, but I knew it still was not my calling. Something was still missing. One thing was for certain though: I always knew I wanted to work with kids.
As the oldest of six, I learned that I am my happiest when surrounded by kids; it's what I became comfortable with. However, little did I know one of my siblings' friends was about to change my entire life. Since I met her, I chose nursing (or nursing chose me) and I never looked back.
Faith. To everyone else, it is just a word; however, to me, Faith is a name. Faith was my sister's friend from school as they were the same age, and it was when she was only six-years-old that Faith Hartzell developed cancer.
Our entire community came together to support Faith and her family through this journey, and I saw first-hand what the battle of having a child with cancer looked like.
On the last day of her chemotherapy, Faith and her family rode in a limousine around our small town while the streets were filled with people cheering for her. It was right in front of my stop that her mom stepped out and overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude, she went to her knees and started crying. In that instant, I decided I wanted to help families get to that point. I wanted to help kids with cancer.
While this story may seem like a fairy tale, involving a princess who finally defeats the big, bad dragon, this tale doesn't have a happy ending.
Fifteen months after defeating cancer, Faith developed leukemia. Once again, I saw the struggle she and her family went through. On March 30, 2015, the world lost Faith. While this moment might have discouraged most from continuing to follow this path, it was in that exact second, when I read that Faith had passed, those were the words that locked my destiny in place.
Since then, I have attended my pediatric clinical at Ranken Jordan Bridge Hospital and loved every second of being there. I know that pediatric nursing is my calling and I cannot imagine doing anything else for the rest of my life.
My goal within my career can be summed up by a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson: "To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."
My goal is to look back at the end of my career and know that every single day, I came to work and gave it my all. I want to be able to look back proudly at the amount of lives I helped save and feel bittersweet about the ones I lost, thankful that I was at least given the opportunity to share such intimate moments with them.
Every job I have worked at previously, I have worked my way up to being a manager and I know nursing will not be any different. My plans are to go back to school after gaining experience within the field. I want to just simply make as much of an impact in this field as I possibly can, and I know that with Faith in my heart and nursing as my life's passion, anything is possible.