24-year-old cancer survivor becomes pediatric nurse to help kids in Metro Detroit

‘I truly believe that cancer has been the best thing that’s ever happened to me’

A 24-year-old pediatric cancer survivor became a nurse to help kids with cancer in Metro Detroit. She was so inspired by her nurses at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak that she decided to follow in their footsteps.

DETROIT – A 24-year-old pediatric cancer survivor became a nurse to help kids with cancer in Metro Detroit.

She was so inspired by her nurses at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak that she decided to follow in their footsteps.

There was a time when Molly Pratt couldn’t walk from her debilitating treatments for Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but this December, Pratt will walk across the stage to accept her nursing degree.

It’s a long journey she calls a blessing.

“I truly believe that cancer has been the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” said Pratt.

It’s a statement you don’t often hear, but Pratt means every word.

“Even though it was such an awful diagnosis, it guided me to who I truly wanted to be,” Pratt said.

Pratt says it hasn’t always been easy at times.

“Not having hair as a 16-year-old girl that is about to go to prom, homecoming, all those kinds of things, I was like, ‘wow, I can’t do this,’” Pratt said. “But then I shaved my head, and it was great.”

That positive attitude and competitive spirit would carry her through two relapses and, ultimately, a bone marrow transplant.

“It was challenging being an 18-year-old that had to use a walker at school, at college,” Pratt said. “I didn’t want to because I didn’t want to be judged.”

Pratt says the nurses who cared for her inspired her to study nursing. It’s an inspiration that goes both ways.

“Patients like Molly keep me young,” said Beaumont Hospital Royal Oak Nurse Practitioner Karen Macdonald. “I’ve been in the field of pediatric oncology for 20 years, and it just keeps me inspired and keeps me wanting to come to work each day.”

Pratt says they’ve taught her lessons you can’t learn from a textbook.

“They showed me how to be a true nurse that cares and loves people,” Pratt said.

“She has so much compassion, and she has the heart to be a good nurse,” Macdonald said. “We just need to put Molly’s heart into a lot of people, and we would solve the nursing shortage.”

Macdonald’s Beaumont family financially supported Pratt’s dream through the Charles A. Main Pediatric Cancer Survivor Scholarship Fund.

“They don’t have any savings,” said Dr. Charles Main, Beaumont Children’s former Chief, Pediatric Oncology and Hematology. “Their parents going through this for the last two-three years are broke. The child has missed a lot of school. He doesn’t think of himself or herself as college material, so we give them a scholarship.”

“It has gotten me through college ever since,” Pratt said. “Without that scholarship, I don’t think I would have been able to go to college.”

In 30 years, the fund has helped 233 students go to college.

“It is a great feeling,” Main said. “I mean, it’s goose bumps, tears, hugs, everything.”

Pratt hopes to become a pediatric oncology nurse and share her story with young patients.

“I can be like, ‘hey guys, I was in your position, and look where I am now,’” Pratt said. “‘I’m graduated. I have a degree, I can walk again, like nothing, nothing is impossible.’”

Pratt planned to study agricultural engineering before shifting her focus to nursing, so it’s safe to say that their loss is medicine’s gain.

Those interested can donate to the Charles A. Main Pediatric Cancer Survivor Scholarship Fund through the Beaumont Health Foundation.

Please indicate that you wish your donation goes to the scholarship fund on your check.

Beaumont Health Foundation address:

Beaumont Health Foundation

Site 433 5D

26901 Beaumont Blvd.

Southfield, MI 48033


About the Authors:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.