A college graduate in Georgia who survived childhood cancer twice has returned to the hospital where doctors saved her life— this time, not to undergo treatment, but to help others through similar plights that she endured as a little girl.
Fox 5 Atlanta reported that 24-year-old Amelia Ballard, of Macon, Ga., was diagnosed with childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), cancer of the bone marrow, at 17 months old. She beat the disease, but it relapsed when she was 3. Health care workers at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta oversaw her treatment, which included chemotherapy regimens, total body and cranial radiation, and a bone marrow transplant, for which Ballard’s brother was a match.
"I remember some of the scans, some of the treatment,” Ballard told the news station. “But it's mostly like my birthday party that I had here. It was a ‘Lion King’ theme. I remember all my family and friends coming to the hospital.”
It was during a psychological evaluation at age 4 that Ballard realized what she wanted to be when she grew up.
"One of the questions they asked me was, 'If little boys grow up to be men, what do little girls grow up to be?' And I said, 'Doctors!’” she told Fox 5 Atlanta, “Because all my doctors were female and all my nurses were female, they had such a strong impact on me."
Ballard recently graduated from Georgia Southern University, where she studied nursing. This spring, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta came knocking. The job offer made her cry, and she said a prayer of thanks.
“It’s a miracle,” Ballard told the news station of returning to a place that feels like home. “I can’t believe it.”