School nurse becomes true life saver

June 15, 2009 4:11:46 PM PDT
The school nurse is known to provide comfort and occasionally a remedy for whatever ills befall students but in one South Jersey community, they honored a school nurse as a true life saver.At Monday's assembly at Thomas Paine elementary school in Cherry Hill, the lesson was about being a hero. But parent Sean Doran surprised one person in the audience, by saying his hero was school nurse Susan Merrill.

Susan was shocked. But the real jaw dropper is how she saved Doran's 8-year- old daughter, Gracie.

In early May, she noticed Gracie seemed tired and in pain.

"When I listened to her heart I knew something was wrong."

She called Sean. He called the family doctor, who called in a prescription and said wait a few days.

But Susan insisted the Doran's get Gracie care right away. That night, they took her to the ER.

"They did an X-ray and a scan and found a mass in the center of her chest," said Sean.

The Doran's found out Gracie had lymphoma.

And if they had waited two days to see their doctor, she would have suffocated from all the fluid in her chest.

After a month in the hospital Gracie is home, but faces two more years of chemo.

Her friends and teachers send cards and visit. They've also raised thousands of dollars, a big help out since Sean lost his job as an electrician this spring.

Monday Susan got roses, a state assembly proclamation, and the mayor's declaration of Susan Merrill Day.

And, best of all, she got Gracie Doran's hug.

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