MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Make-A-Wish kids like Ella grow up to change lives, like Jen Pratt. Doctors diagnosed her with bone cancer more than 20 years ago, and now she’s back in the very place that saved her life.
She still has a scrap book chronicling her battle with cancer.
“I had about a year of chemotherapy and surgery to remove a tumor in my leg, and during that experience I was introduced to Make-A-Wish,” she said.
Make-A-Wish Minnesota did for her what it does for many kids — provide a light at the end of the tunnel.
“Well, I remember really looking forward to it and counting down the chemotherapy treatments I had, thinking, ‘OK, this many more treatments and then I get to go on my wish trip,'” she said.
Jen loved Beauty and the Beast and animation, so naturally, she wished to go to Disney.
“From the moment that we were picked up to go to the airport — getting on the plane, being able to meet the pilot, being able to meet some of the animators of my favorite Disney movies was beyond incredible,” she said.
Around that time, Jen — at just 11 years old — figured out what she wanted to do when she grew up.
“I wanted to give back and support other families the way that I felt so supported, from that point on I knew that I wanted to go into medicine,” she said.
So now Jen is Dr. Pratt. Not only that, she cares for kids in the same hospital — Children’s St. Paul — where she was diagnosed and treated.
“Some of the nurses that I had during my treatment are still nurses at Children’s, so I actually get to work with them,” she said.
She still carries the experience of her wish and her time as a patient as she cares for kids today.
“It’s really incredible to be able to walk down these halls and feel like I’m delivering the care that I felt so impacted by as a child,” she said. “And honestly, it’s a privilege to be able to work here. I love it. I love my job.”
When Dr. Pratt went on her wish trip, she stayed at the Give Kids the World resort near Orlando. This fall, she’s headed back there to volunteer.