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A Teacher and a Nurse Save a Young Life

Posted by Brian Spence on Jul 3, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Leukemia, Teacher, NurseNathan Campbell will grow up, thanks to his teacher and the school nurse. The kindergartner at Zane North Elementary in Collingswood, New Jersey had only been in school for a few weeks when his teacher noticed something wrong. Kathy Keller had taught his brother and sister, and when Nathan came along there was something "off" about him. He didn't want to go to recess and complained that his leg hurt.

Keller asked the school nurse, Patti Butler, to take a look at Nathan. The minute Butler saw the boy's skin, her heart skipped a beat.

She said, “I went behind him so the light was coming through and his skin was translucent.” She immediately called Nathan's mom and told her it was urgent to get him to a pediatrician. Nicole DeFeo Campbell thought Patti was overreacting. To her mind, Nate only had a cold that would run its course and resolve in a few days.

Butler was shocked at Nicole's seemingly casual attitude. She was sure this was no common cold, and persisted in calling Nicole and urging her to have Nathan examined by a doctor. She couldn't get his translucent skin out of her mind. Patti had only seen that symptom one time in her twenty-five year career in medicine. She begged Nicole to take him in, if only to "prove me wrong", praying that was the case. But Patti Butler wasn't wrong.

Finally her nagging paid off, and Nicole took Nathan to the doctor. Campbell was unconvinced but relented to Nurse Patti's requests. "Honestly, I wrote it off, because I didn’t see anything wrong with him."

Nathan was seriously ill. He had leukemia. That night, Nathan was admitted to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and began treatment for the blood cancer that threatened his life.

His mom is grateful to Nurse Patti and has nominated her for America's Greatest School Nurse. Whether Patti wins or not, she will always have that title in the heart of Nathan's mom.

If it weren’t for Patti pushing as hard as she did, I don’t know that my son would be here. That’s the honest-to-God truth.”

Thanks to an observant teacher and a dedicated school nurse, Nathan is here. His leukemia is in remission and his future is bright.

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