How a 2-time Cancer Survivor Became an Oncology Nurse

Young man in blue scrubs smiles at nursing school

Dalton Noakes found his future in a way he did not expect. That perspective not only helps him, but his patients.

From WKYC Channel 3 Cleveland

CLEVELAND — Dalton Noakes is about to finish school at Case Western Reserve University and become a registered nurse. His reason wasn't really a calling, but a profound encounter. 

While studying business his freshman year at The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania, Dalton noticed a lump on his neck. He went to the student health center and met a nurse practitioner.

"She ended up sending me to the emergency room. And then when I got to the ER, they did scans and ran tests and then that's when I found out it was Hodgkin's Lymphoma. I had to go on a year's medical leave for chemotherapy and radiation," Dalton recalls.

Days later, the nurse practitioner reached out to check on him. That compassion made a big impact on Dalton. "The fact that she cared enough and had the presence of mind to follow up with me afterwards to be like, 'Hey, are you doing okay?'"

When Dalton returned to school, he thought about becoming a doctor. But the idea didn't click. 

"So I thought, 'maybe I'll be a nurse,'" Dalton says.

Read the full story and watch an interview with Dalton here.