COLUMBUS (WCMH) – It’s one of the highlights of every Memorial Tournament week. The Patient Champion program, honoring and celebrating young people who are or have been at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
Ten of them will get the chance to meet the pro and celebrity golfers, talk with Jack and Barbara Nicklaus, and drink a famous milkshake.
Alexander High School graduate Bryana Wallace is one of them.
“So I actually don’t know much about golf so I’m actually pretty excited to learn more and just figure out exactly what it is because I’m really good at putt-putt but nothing else,” said Wallace.
Golf may not be Wallace’s passion, but the opportunity to be a Patient Champion and to share her story of survival is important to her. It all begins in January 2019.
“I’m a competitive cheerleader and I got hit in the neck. As the swelling went down, we thought like, I just had a random bump on my neck that we didn’t know what it was. So I went to the doctor, and they keep on telling me it was an internal bruise that would go away,” said Wallace.
But the bruise did not go away. In fact, it got worse.
“We started doing ultrasounds and we figured out that there was instead of one, there were 3 of the lumps there so I got a biopsy to get it checked out to figure out what was wrong,” said Wallace.
That was August 2019. Doctors told Wallace she had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and needed to start chemotherapy.
“The day before I start getting treatment, I went to my first day of school and I ran my first and last cross-country meet. So nothing was wrong. I didn’t feel sick but then again, I was looking back, about to start my chemo treatment for my Hodgkin’s Lymphoma,” said Wallace.
Thankfully, her treatments went well and since November of 2019, she has been cancer free. And her experience at Nationwide Children’s Hospital has led to a new calling.
“The nurses were great, and they made me feel like this is my second home,” said Wallace. “They made me think that I wasn’t getting chemo so they would come in and talk to me, like nothing was wrong and I eventually decided that I wanted to become a pediatric oncology nurse and help the children just like the nurses had helped me. I think sharing my story with some of the children will also help them overcome and get through their journey.”