Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta asked four young patients with cancer and one with sickle cell disease what they want to be when they grow up and then let them spend a day trying out that career.

By Libby Ryan
September 12, 2019
Credit: Courtesy Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

September is National Childhood Cancer and Sickle Cell Awareness Month and at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, the hospital staff wanted to give some young patients a special moment in the spotlight.

The staff asked five patients what they want to be when they grow up, and then arranged for the kids to try out their dream jobs. While on-site at their dream jobs, they were photographed so they can always remember the day.

"Treatment can be rough and spending long days in the hospital can be draining, so we wanted to give them something to look forward to and special day to celebrate them," hospital public relations coordinator Allyson Wright said. "Each child was given the opportunity to dress up as their chosen profession and experience a ‘day in the life.’"


Courtesy Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

Fifteen-year-old Ariana has sickle cell disease and after a complication with a transplant in her treatment, she was hospitalized for more than six months—and even put on life support. She found cooking as an outlet, making chicken alfredo and cupcakes for fellow patients. She competed on MasterChef Junior and hopes to be a chef one day, so the staff photographed her in the hospital teaching kitchens.


Courtesy Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

Andrew, age 7, is a soccer fan and hopeful future professional player who can't wait to get back on the field. Although he is on the bench right now due to a diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, he is waiting for an OK to play from his doctors. He's now in a two-year maintenance phase where doctors will monitor the disease. Through this photo session, he got to live the life of a pro player on the Atlanta United training ground, with his own team jersey and all.


Courtesy Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

Aspiring hairstylist Alivia joined her professional role model, her mom, at the salon for her photoshoot and career day. She has acute myeloid leukemia and is currently recovering from a blood and marrow transplant. She rocks a bright pink wig and says she can't wait for her hair to grow back so her stylist mom can dye it the same hue and she can perfect her curling technique on her own locks.


Courtesy Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

Sixteen-year-old Matthew was diagnosed with Pediatric T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at age 13, underwent treatment, and faced a relapse shortly after turning 16. He's now in remission and is planning on going back to school soon, after years of taking online classes while in the hospital. He wants to become a doctor and research cancer treatments. For his photoshoot and day on the job, Matthew headed to the research labs at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta—the same lab where his own doctor works on cancer research.


Courtesy Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

Animal-lover Dakota has a rare childhood brain tumor, located right on her optic nerve, and is undergoing chemotherapy and monitoring to make sure the tumor doesn't grow. But the passionate 9-year-old still maintained a perfect 100 percent score in her science class and dreams of becoming a marine biologist. She got to try out the gig behind the scenes at the Georgia Aquarium, feeding manta rays and a whale shark.

We're inspired by these children and look forward to seeing them succeed in their dream jobs in years to come.


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