Our Nurse of the Week is Jessica Leja, an oncology nurse at DuPage Medical Group in Illinois, who wants to give her never-worn wedding dress to a cancer patient or survivor. Leja believes in finding silver linings in the worst of circumstances, so now that her own wedding has been called off, she wants to turn something sad into something beautiful.
As an oncology nurse, Leja understands how cancer can interrupt your life in messy, painful, and expensive ways. Sometimes it can even ruin plans and delay big events like a wedding day, which is why Leja wants to gift her wedding gown to a woman who is battling cancer or who has survived it.
Leja tells ChicagoTribune.com, “My heroes are cancer patients: the fighters, the survivors, and the taken. The admiration I have for them is beyond words…This dress wasn’t made for me. It was made for someone else. And I have to find her.”
After beginning her career in geriatrics, several of Leja’s own relatives were diagnosed with cancer, including her dad. Leja feels fortunate to have been able to care for her dad who was diagnosed and lost his battle to metastatic kidney cancer at 55 years old.
Shortly after his passing, she received a phone call about an oncology nursing position. Leja immediately felt at home during her interview and was offered the job on the spot, which she accepted without hesitation.
Now she hopes to give back to the community she serves in a different way: by gifting her wedding gown free of charge to an engaged or soon-to-be engaged woman who is battling cancer or who has survived it.
To learn more about Jessica Leja’s background as an oncology nurse and her mission to gift her never-worn wedding gown to a cancer patient or survivor, visit here.