(COLLEGE STATION, TX) — For Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) College of Nursing student Danielle Cordes, life has been a marathon, literally and figuratively.

At age 2, Cordes was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia, a type of blood cancer that is the most common type of leukemia in children under age 20. Fortunately, a few years later, she was pronounced “cancer free.”

Nursing student Danielle Cordes

Danielle Cordes

Then in high school, Cordes heard about an organization called the Snowdrop Foundation through the Texas Children’s Hospital and immediately took interest. Kevin Kline, founder and president, started the non-profit organization to raise money for pediatric cancer patients and pediatric cancer research.

On New Year’s Day, Kline ran 24 hours straight on a treadmill, then completed a half marathon. Cordes always wanted to do a half marathon and called him about the idea of running with him.

She did run her half marathon. While it was painful at times, Cordes fully intends to run with Kline again next year.

“I can do this because other people can’t, and I want to be able to help in some way,” Cordes says.

In addition to running, Cordes will graduate in May from the TAMHSC-College of Nursing with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.) degree, and her path to the college is a unique one.

“I started out at Texas A&M University as a biomedical sciences major and originally wanted to be a pediatric oncologist.” Cordes says. “I realized that wasn’t where I was supposed to be. I’m much more of a people person, and I have more of a servant’s heart.”

Cordes first became interested in the TAMHSC-College of Nursing when Kathryn Cochran, M.S.N., RN, assistant dean for student affairs, spoke to her biomedical sciences class about the nursing school.

“From my very first meeting with Danielle, I knew nursing would be a great fit for her personally,” Cochran says. “However, I had no knowledge of her medical history. Although soft spoken, Danielle has clearly exhibited strong leadership as a nursing student through her mature, caring spirit. She is one of those individuals who gives 110 percent in every endeavor and, from the beginning, I had no doubt that she would be successful in our program.”

No matter what direction nursing takes Cordes, she wishes to continue volunteering at the Texas Children’s Hospital. For now, however, a career in oncology nursing is a serious option.

“I definitely have a different perspective for nursing,” Cordes says. “I’ve been in those shoes before and seen the suffering, and I’ve experienced it.”

That experience has helped others, as Cordes told the story of a patient she met through the TAMHSC-College of Nursing last semester who was battling cancer.

“She just asked another student and me to pray for her,” she says. “At the very end, I felt called to tell her that I had cancer as a child. She got tears in her eyes hearing that and that I made it through, too. She saw that I’m a nursing student, and I’m just fine. It provided motivation for her.”

For more information about the Snowdrop Foundation, go to www.snowdropfoundation.org. More information about the TAMHSC-College of Nursing is at nursing.tamhsc.edu.

— Marketing & Communications