Local teacher and nurse help diagnosis boy's leukemia

- Nicole DeFeo Campbell spends much of her time at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia these days visiting her 6-year-old son Nate and talking about his guardian angels. 

"She saved my child's life," said Campbell.

This story began last September.  Nate was new to Ms. Keller's kindergarten class at Zane North Elementary School in Collingswood, New Jersey.  Almost immediately Kathy Keller noticed the little boy didn't look right. 

"It was just something different about him," Keller told FOX 29's Bruce Gordon. "And I had worked with his sister. I had known his brother. Something was off."

So Ms. Keller asked the school nurse to take a look. Patti Butler-- Nurse Pattti-- a veteran neonatal ICU nurse thought Nate's color was all wrong. 

"I went behind him so the light was coming through and his skin was translucent," said Butler.

It didn't look right so Nurse Patti insisted Nicole rush Nate to the doctor for blood tests.

"Please take him," Butler remembers pleading with Nicole, who thought her son was merely dealing with a cold.  "Prove me wrong! That's all I want-- prove me wrong!"

The heartbreaking diagnosis came back: Leukemia.

"I can't believe it," remembered Campbell as tears filled her eyes. "And then we got past it and he's doing great now."

Nate's been in and out of the hospital for months-- undergoing chemotherapy. But his cancer is in remission and his mom credits his teacher and nurse with catching early what she almost certainly would have missed.

 "I'm just happy that I was in the right place at the right time," said Keller.

And Nurse Patti's reaction to saving a life?

"Humbled, thankful, grateful for being that person at that time."

Mom is so grateful, she has nominated Patti Butler for a prestigious award: America's Greatest School Nurse.
Nurse Patti is the New Jersey finalist for this national honor. If you wish to vote, please click here.

 

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