May 7, 2021

A mother’s love: UW Health nurse helps her daughter fight cancer

Nicole Wayman hugging her daughter Aubrey on a sofa
UW Health nurse Nicole Wayman and her daughter Aubrey, who was diagnosed with T-Cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in 2018.

Madison, Wis. – In honor of National Nurses Week (May 6-12) and Mother’s Day (May 9), UW Health is sharing the story of nurse Nicole Wayman.

Nicole has been a nurse at American Family Children’s Hospital for the past 20 years, including eight years on the pediatric cancer unit. For the last two and a half years, her 13-year-old daughter Aubrey was one of the patients on that unit.

Aubrey was diagnosed with T-Cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in 2018 and just finished her last round of chemotherapy in December of 2020 at American Family Children’s Hospital. Her mom Nicole has been by her side the whole time, even shaving her head in solidarity when her daughter lost her hair during treatment. Thanks to the great team of healthcare professionals at American Family Children’s Hospital, Aubrey is in remission and doing well.

Nicole has gained a unique perspective through her experiences with her daughter.

"I know what it feels like to have your world fall apart and the only option is to keep going," said Nicole. "I feel I connect to patients' families at a much deeper level having been in their shoes. I know this experience has made me a better mom and a better nurse."

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