Teri with her patient, Lauren, and Levine Children’s facility dog, Sprout.

Nearly 17 years ago, Teri Mehall began her nursing career at Atrium Health Levine Children’s Hospital, caring for patients on the inpatient pediatric oncology and hematology unit. For Teri, nursing had been a calling. “I always knew I wanted to work in the medical field knowing I could help those in need,” she said. “The ability to help those in their most vulnerable moments is a privilege. I was immediately drawn to pediatric oncology in nursing school when I completed my pediatrics rotation on an inpatient oncology unit and connected with a family facing a cancer battle.”

About four years ago, Teri transitioned to the pediatric solid tumors team at Atrium Health Levine Children’s Specialty Center. As a pediatric oncology nurse navigator, she has the great responsibility and privilege to care for children in some of their most vulnerable moments. Whether educating her families about their child’s disease and treatments, navigating them through the many appointments, or connecting them to important support services, Teri is a trusted and familiar face throughout a family’s cancer journey.

“We become some sense of family to them,” said Teri. “Getting to be a small part of their journey brought so much joy and gratitude to my own life.”

But in November 2022, Teri began her own personal battle with stage 3a melanoma. After learning the cancer had metastasized to nearby lymph nodes, she began immunotherapy treatments at Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute in March 2023. Unfortunately, Teri had to discontinue the treatment as she experienced significant side effects. She spent an extended period in the hospital from complications and has been on a road to recovery ever since. Her Levine Cancer team continues to monitor her for any recurrence.

Teri admits she was nervous to adjust from her role as nurse to patient, but she found comfort knowing she was in the best possible care at Levine Cancer. “I’ve felt supported from day one, from my surgeon to my oncologist to all the nurses and hospital personnel—they all played an important role in my healing,” she said. “My journey was not easy and has forever changed who I am. I know it has made me a stronger wife, mother, friend, and colleague. I can only hope my patients and their families feel this has made me a stronger nurse navigator as I continue to walk with them throughout their journeys knowing I genuinely understand what they are going through.”

On Saturday, June 22, 2024, Teri will run in the Keep Pounding 5K to help raise money for clinical research and cancer care programs at Atrium Health. She has participated for many years in support of her patients. Now she also runs to honor every member of her care team that has played an important role in her healing. To join Teri and other members of our community for this special race, visit KeepPounding5K.org.