Diagnosis Sparks Career in Medicine

Daniel

Daniel Kingsley working with Alex Huang, MD, Theresia G. and Stuart F. Kline Family Foundation Chair in Pediatric Oncology at the
Angie Fowler Adolescent & Young Adult Cancer Institute.

In 2008, Daniel Kingsley was a typical 12-year-old boy. He loved to ride his bike, hang out with his friends and play baseball. The summer before 7th grade, however, he started to have stomach pains and felt increasingly tired. Then, during one of his baseball games, Daniel was too weak to stand after catching a pitch.

Doctors confirmed that Daniel had childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a fast-growing cancer of the blood and bone marrow. If left untreated, he would likely die in a matter of months. The Kingsley family was stunned. "It takes the air right out of you," recalled Daniel. "You never expect it to happen to you."

Daniel immediately began chemotherapy and, like most patients, he remembers having good and bad days during his treatment. On one of his most difficult days, however, Daniel had a life changing moment.

"I was going through, 'Why me, why me,' and I looked over and saw this infant and then I saw a toddler," he said. "I thought 'Whoa, wait. There's something much worse with that picture than mine.'" Daniel decided then and there that he wanted to become a doctor.

Prior to the start of his sophomore year at Kent State University, Daniel spent the summer at UH – not as a patient this time, but as a student. Daniel earned a St. Baldrick's Foundation Summer Research Fellowship to work alongside one of the physicians that helped save his life – Alex Huang, MD, Theresia G. and Stuart F. Kline Family Foundation Chair in Pediatric Oncology, Angie Fowler Adolescent & Young Adult Cancer Institute, UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.

"It is wonderful to see Daniel translate his experience as an AYA cancer patient into a positive motivation to help others in similar situations and to pursue a career as a Pediatric Oncologist," says Dr. Huang.

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