KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A nurse at East Tennessee Children's Hospital battled leukemia while she was growing up, after being diagnosed with it when she was 5 years old. Years later, she is cancer-free and is working at the same hospital that helped her get healthy.
And on Thursday, Ashtyn Fritz appeared on national television to share her story. She was welcomed onto the Nick Cannon Show, where she spoke about her experiences growing up and how she started her career as a nurse.
"I thought of these nurses as my friends. And to this day, I think it says a lot about them when all I remember are the good times I had. I had a great time, I don't remember any of the bad things," she said on the show. "My nurses made it an enjoyable experience for me. They made the bad things better, and the good things better."
While being treated for leukemia, she said that doctors and educators worried she would be behind in her academics. However, she said she worked hard and knew as a child that she wanted to grow up to be a nurse.
"The staff became my friends and people who I looked up to, and growing up I knew I wanted to be just like them because they were helping me," she said. "I hope that one day, I can play a small role in a child's role ... Now that I am a nurse, I strive to make that difference."
She said that other nurses in the hospital have similar stories, returning to East Tennessee Children's Hospital after being treated there.
"You have such a big and amazing heart and spirit," Cannon said on the show.
He also said that he worked with Child's Play Charity to give the oncology floor 21 new Xbox One gaming systems, along with several new controllers. He said that the gesture was meant to help the children get through treatment and stay entertained while facing illnesses and isolation due to COVID-19 restrictions.