Cassie Daily and Whiteside standing next to each other

Cassie Daily’s care as a pediatric cancer patient inspired her to pursue a career in health care. Kathy Whiteside (right), her child life specialist during treatment, says that seeing Daily as an employee fills her with joy and pride.

Once a pediatric cancer patient, now she’s part of the team  

As Cassie Daily guides a mother and son through the halls to their next appointment at University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital, the mother asks her about her job – how long she’s been here, why she likes working here. The conversation is casual until Daily starts to tell her story about her own experience at the hospital.

As a teen, Daily was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Now in remission for seven years, she started at UI Hospitals & Clinics in July as an x-ray technologist.

“I think I made the mother hopeful because her son is going through the same thing,” she says. “I feel like I can relate to what families are going through. When I was going through treatment, my mom was with me all the time.”

After completing her radiology program in Waterloo, Daily decided to apply for a job at the place where she was treated. While she doesn’t remember a lot about her time during treatment, she does remember the uplifting staff that made all the difference.

“One nurse would always try to get me to dance,” says Daily. “I also had a child life specialist, which is a really cool thing offered to kids.”

Kathy Whiteside, her child life specialist during treatment, says that seeing Daily as an employee fills her with joy and pride.

“Cassie has shown that while cancer might have interrupted her life, it did not stop her resilient and determined nature in pursuing a dream,” says Whiteside. 

Daily’s first day of work continues to be a proud moment for her, as her former care team members became her coworkers. 

“Having been a recipient of the quality care that is given here, Cassie is now representing and delivering that care to others with a unique understanding and appreciation for the patient experience,” says Whiteside.

Daily’s 45-minute drive to Iowa City from her hometown of Blue Grass, Iowa, is familiar, as she used to travel to the hospital a lot as a teen and then as an adult for follow-up scans.

“Post treatment, most patients get CTs every six months and then you go out to one year,” she says. “As I got older, I started asking the technologists about their jobs, what they did for schooling, what they liked. That’s how I got started.”

As a high school student, Daily served on the Youth Advisory Council for the children’s hospital, advising leadership and children’s faculty and staff on the patient experience through the eyes of a child. Now as a UI Health Care staff member, she is the one encouraging patients and families, like others did for her. And her parents continue to be her greatest supporters.

“My mom believes I was meant to work here,” says Daily. “My parents are both just really caring, hard workers, so they’ve influenced my whole life. I don’t know where I’d be without them.”  

Delivering exceptional and compassionate care to our patients is central to our core mission. Our team of trained specialists are nationally recognized leaders in radiology, and we’re one of only a few hospitals in the region that offers a full complement of unique imaging services to patients both within and outside the State of Iowa.

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