From the October 2019 issue

Childhood Leukemia Survivor Shannon Spicer Now Works at Hospital That Treated Her

As a child, Shannon Spicer battled childhood leukemia at C.S. Mott Children's Hospital – now, she works there treating other sick kids.

Shannon Spicer then and now

Volunteering at a food drive or donating to a charity might be “giving back” for some people, but 28-year-old Shannon Spicer has a more personal connection.

Spicer was diagnosed with leukemia at 9 years old and received treatment at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor – where she now works as a nurse technician in the cancer unit with the same doctors and nurses who treated her childhood cancer.

“It’s bittersweet,” Spicer says. “I wanted to work here because there’s so many new families and patients, and I wanted to be a part of their lives and give them the care and emotional support I received.

“My goal is just to be a light within our unit,” she adds. “It’s a very sad unit. My goal and my mission every day is to bring some sort of happiness or relief to the patient and family. Even if it’s just getting them a cup of water – something to take the load off of them.”

Spicer says her two-year treatment was at times hardest on her family. Her nurses spent time supporting her mother in particular, and a holistic approach to the patient is something Spicer now carries through in her own work.

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“I take my time in each room, and know each family member and sibling and patient,” she says. “I know firsthand what a toll it takes on them, and I think that’s what made me take a step back and focus on the family as well.”

The Romulus native says while she has other interests outside of work, like her recent trip to Hawaii, the work she’s involved in is most important.

“For me, working with patients at the hospital is the only thing I’m super passionate about,” Spicer says. “It reminds me every single time I’m at work everything they’ve done for me and reminds me to be thankful. Having a career like this continues to give me a different outlook on life.”

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