Lauryn Blakesely-Career Speaker

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I grew up in small town outside of Philadelphia and loved running and creating in my free time.  In high school, my love for science truly began in large part due to the efforts of one person, my Anatomy teacher (the one teacher from high school who I still remember!).  Anatomy was a challenging class taught by a man who had high expectations and also encouraged every one of his students to meet them. In a sense, he set the bar for me, which I carried to college to pursue a degree in Molecular and Cellular Developmental Biology. During my degree, I began thinking about what comes after college and whether medical school or graduate school might be for me.  To get experience that would inform this decision, I worked in the lab of one of my “Cell Hell” professors along with one of my best friends. We spent hours upon hours in the lab, weekends, nights, learning techniques, performing experiments, and pursuing answers--it was so fulfilling! I found that not only did I love the lab work, I also loved presenting about my results. I could talk for hours about my research to anyone who would listen (and often did!).

Fresh out of the University of New Hampshire, I began my professional career in Dr. Anthony Yeung’s lab at Fox Chase as a research technician.  In this role, I saw research in action and worked alongside some pretty awesome scientists to detect BRCA1 and 2 mutations in patient samples. However, after only one year, I felt the pull toward the clinical world, and left the lab to go back to school, this time for nursing. Since I had a science background (and all the required prerequisites), I was able to pursue a fast track nursing degree. I applied to Thomas Jefferson University (TJU), got accepted, and then spent 15 months getting my RN/BSN.

After graduating, I spent 8 years having three beautiful children and working with neuro critical care patients who had suffered spinal cord injuries, brain tumors, and massive strokes among other conditions.  Nursing provided a fast-paced environment which required critical thinking. It was a profession where I could make a real difference in the lives of my patients not only with the care I delivered, but also through educating my patients and their families about healthcare options.

During my time at TJU Hospital, a new opportunity presented itself, and being a person who is always up for something new, I took it. While working just a couple shifts a week at the hospital, I took an extra job with the marketing department at Penn Medicine to make extra money (see previous comment about the three beautiful children!). In this role I developed patient-focused marketing material for Penn’s blog and social media platforms. I found this line of work to be a new challenge – how do you take information that is difficult to understand for many people, but equally important for them to understand, and make it relevant to them? I also found that I was good at it. I had a unique perspective – one that combined my training in research AND healthcare – and was able to make a difference.

When my family decided to make a big move to Boston, I kept working remotely and continued my work focused on empowering patients to make decisions on where to receive their healthcare through education-based marketing.

For the last three years I have found myself back at Fox Chase, now working as a Social Media and Digital Marketing Manager. I LOVE working with departments and teams throughout the Center to understand the role they play in a cancer patient's journey so that I can help build relevant, and thought provoking-content, surrounding their work. I strongly believe that every single person at Fox Chase plays a critical role in the excellent care that is provided. I am on a mission to find ways to educate those who are seeking care for cancer on important considerations and the services and expertise that Fox Chase provides.