Hannah, bone cancer survivor
I have built relationships with patients, nurses, doctors and supportive care team members. Those relationships are what carried me through treatment and gave me the strength to continue to fight.”
Hannah Komai came to City of Hope in 2010 at the age of 20 with osteosarcoma, an aggressive bone cancer most often diagnosed in teenagers.
Her normal life, as she says, “was put on pause.” Instead of entering Pacific Lutheran College on a scholarship, she would be spending her summer – and foreseeable future – undergoing difficult and intense treatment to save her life.
Komai endured 15 weeks of intense chemotherapy as well as surgery to remove six inches of her right femur, knee and a tibia and replace them with stainless steel. After months, Komai finally went into remission. Then came the grueling physical therapy. She spent her 21st birthday learning how to use a walker.
During her treatment and recovery, Komai found support and strength in Molly Thornock, R.N., B.S.N., a nurse very close to her own age. Thornock would come spend time with Komai at the end of her day, making tough moments less lonely and tough days more bearable.
Thornock is the primary inspiration behind Komai’s decision to enroll in nursing school to become a pediatric oncology nurse herself. For Thornock, the bond is mutual.
Today, Komai is cancer-free and her story has come full circle: She's now a registered nurse at City of Hope, where she serves on the very same pediatric floor where she was once a patient.