This story was originally published on Oct. 20, 2015 and has been updated.
In 2003, Claire Feller was just 5 years old when she was a patient on 7 West, the cancer unit at Norton Children’s Hospital, being treated for Wilms tumor, a rare kidney cancer. Now a healthy and happy 17-year-old, Claire has been volunteering for various events and projects that directly benefit Norton Children’s Hospital for the past 10 years.
“While I was a patient on 7 West, Norton Children’s Hospital was such an incredibly great place to my family and me,” Claire said. “The doctors, nurses, child life therapists and even the food service workers all went above and beyond to make sure my family and I were cared for, which inspired me to contribute to that mission of caring for sick kids.
One of Claire’s favorite Norton Children’s Hospital fundraisers is the Festival of Trees & Lights. She has been volunteering for this annual event for the past few years.
“It’s such a fun holiday event that gets the whole community involved in helping the hospital,” Claire said.
Volunteering for “Just for Kids” endeavors is not the only thing on Claire’s plate these days. She is involved in her school’s theater program and is a member of the National Honor Society. She has also been taking piano lessons for the past seven years and is using that talent as an accompanist to her school choir.
In Claire’s free time, she enjoys traveling, listening to music and spending time with family, friends and her pets, a dog named Baxter, and two cats, Princess and Fenway.
Upon graduating from Assumption High School, Claire hopes to extend her mission of caring by majoring in pre-medicine and eventually attending medical school to become an oncologist.
“Because of Norton Children’s Hospital and all of the wonderful people that work there, I was able to overcome a life-threatening diagnosis,” Claire said. “The hospital has allowed me to become who I am today, and for that, I am beyond thankful for all they do for the children in our community. It’s been such a meaningful experience to be able to give back to a place that’s given me so much.
Update on Claire: September 2016
Claire is a biochemistry major in her freshman year at the University of Dayton, planning to attend medical school. She was a Kentucky Governor Scholar, graduating from Assumption High School in May. She hopes to volunteer at Dayton’s children hospital, at Relay For Life and with the hospital’s dance marathon!