IU Health oncology nurse uses her own experience with cancer to help others

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - An oncology nurse with IU Health is using her own experience with cancer to help those battling the disease.

Danielle Jenkins’ mother, grandmother, aunt and cousin were all diagnosed with breast cancer.

Sadly, her mother and aunt both passed away.  For years, Jenkins says she was worried that cancer would one day grab hold of her too. Which is why before it could, she made the choice to do something about it, and undergo a double mastectomy.

“I always had been thinking about the double mastectomy, talking to multiple different doctors, multiple different insurances…Now I feel like I can live better in a sense without worrying about it,” she said.

Now, she’s using her experiences to help others live better too.

Each day, Danielle says she fights for brighter days with all her patients; carrying with her the strength and spirit of her mother and aunt.

“It’s like a reminder, like I feel a sense of them and it’s like ok I’m where I’m supposed to be, I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing,” she said.

While her experience was with breast cancer, Danielle says her experience has helped her find a grasp on how to help other cope.

She calls cancer a different and complicated road for anyone who has it, but says that sometimes her own path helps others along theirs.

“If I helped them in anyway get through their treatment, or to get through this milestone, or to get through grieving. If I can just help one person then I would be ok,” she said.

While cancer is a disease so often filled with sadness and pain Danielle says working in oncology has also taught her that the journeys of her patients are also filled with joy and hope as well. She says seeing that joy and hope is the best part of her days.