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Pediatric cancer patient to nurse … BW alumnus returns to his second home

For Cody Shearrow '19, many of the faces are familiar. So are the halls he walks daily as a registered nurse in the Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders unit of Akron Children's Hospital.

photo of nursing alumnus Cody Shearrow as a childHe was just 5 ½ years old when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. For 3 ½ years, the hospital was Shearrow's second home - a place where he and others celebrated holidays, birthdays, good days and bad days.

What he remembers most about his time as a patient there isn't the medicine, but the people who cared for him. Now, more than 20 years later, he cares for patients in that same center.

photo of nursing alumnus Cody ShearrowA Call to Nursing

"I decided I wanted to be a nurse about three-quarters of the way through my first degree," recalled Shearrow. "Working with kids has always been a calling. I think it takes a special group of people to be able to take the leap into pediatrics - especially hematology.

"BW's Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program was a no-brainer," noted the Alliance, Ohio, resident. "The faculty in BW's BSN program want you to succeed and will push you to a higher level to create phenomenal nurses. I would recommend this program to individuals looking to challenge themselves to be the best nurses they can be.

"Working in the cancer unit drives my passion and makes me feel proud and accomplished to be able to relate to my patients in a very unique way," he explained. "If the situation permits, I tell my patients that I have been in their shoes before. Oftentimes, I think it helps the kids trust me a little more, as well as the parents."

Portions of this article were excerpted from a story written by Suzi Schenkenberger and published by Akron Children's Hospital in September 2020. Copy and photos are being used with permission by hospital personnel and by Cody Shearrow.

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