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This School Nurse Noticed a Deadly Warning Sign In a Kindergartener and Saved His Life



One grateful mother is crediting a perceptive school nurse with saving her child’s life. Nicole Defeo Campbell’s son, Nathan, started kindergarten in Collingswood, New Jersey, last September. She thought he had been fighting off a cold, but a trip to the nurse’s office during school one day proved otherwise. Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and an explanation for 5-year-old Nate Campbell’s pale coloring, bruises and aches that his mother thought were growing pains: leukemia.

The nurse, Patti Butler, knew something was wrong with the young boy immediately. She noticed his skin looked translucent—something she had only seen once in 25 years. Patti called Nathan’s mother right away and insisted she take him to a doctor.

Within a few days, Nicole got a call from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia explaining her son’s pale skin, bruises, and aches: He had leukemia and needed immediate treatment. The boy’s blood wasn’t carrying enough oxygen, which made his coloring appear sallow—and tipped Nurse Patti off to his condition.

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

Six months after his diagnosis, Nathan is now in remission and has entered the maintenance phase of treatment. His mom has nominated Patti for the America’s Greatest School Nurse contest—but the sweet nurse says she just wants the little boy to get better.


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