Hannah Lawson has been honing her nursing skills since she was 7 years old. She first learned about healthcare as a patient at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.
“I had a stage three brain tumor, so it was cancerous,” Lawson said.
Before seeking treatment, Lawson and her family had no idea anything was wrong. The diagnosis came as a shock. Her dog Frenchy was the first one to notice something was off.
“All I remember is Frenchy pawing at my pillow,” she said.
The dog turned out to be pawing a tumor growing in her brain. She received radiation at a young age, but never lost her spirits. With the help of her family, she started raising money for kids with the same condition while she recuperated in the hospital.
A local news crew even filmed her singing and dancing toward the end of her recovery.
“I created Hannah’s Army Angels, which raised money for the pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation, and we would also collect supplies to send to soldiers serving overseas,” she said.
Lawson even discussed her experience on the floor of the State Senate. Her experience over the years has inspired others to pursue a career in healthcare.
“Pediatric oncology was always the goal, whatever that looked like,” Hannah said. “I just had so many awesome doctors and nurses that really shaped who I was. I wanted to be able to make a difference like they made a difference in my life.”
Now, she’s 22 and working at the same hospital that helped her beat cancer nearly 15 years ago. She still has weakness on the right side of her head along with some partial baldness, but it serves as a reminder of her experience.
“I think one of the hardest things, honestly, is losing your hair, and that was a really hard thing for me,” she said.
She even works in the pediatric ward where she still remembers being a patient in 2007.
“Coming full circle has been an absolute dream,” Hannah said. “It’s been really cool to get to see people that really helped me through a hard time.”
She has spent her life making her dreams come true, but she’s not done yet. She has a wedding planned for October.
“I’m really excited for all the big life changes, and you know, they’re gonna happen, so I might as well just have them all happen at once,” she said.
Her dog Frenchy is still by her side all these years later. To thank him for saving her life, Lawson will have him walk down the aisle as the flower dog on Hannah’s big day.