March 18, 2013
One medical student from Orange County isn't letting her tough health history stop her from going after her goals. After dealing with brain tumors and missing some time out of college and medical school in West Virginia, she's made it through “Match Day” and is looking forward to starting her residency. In this week's Stephanie's Heroes CBS19’s Stephanie Satchell is featuring Erin Kalan.
Erin Kalan’s dream has finally come full circle. About a decade ago she was a patient at the University of Virginia Medical Center fighting for her life after having brain tumors removed.
“Awaking from surgery and realizing that in a sense I was partially paralyzed was completely devastating for me," said Erin Kalan, Medical Student.
With the help of doctors, nurses, family and friends, she learned how to do everything all over again.
"I started as an infant learning how to hold up my head first, crawling then to walking with a walker then moving to a wheel chair and then finally independent,” said Kalan.
That’s when she knew she wanted to be a doctor.
Now in 2013, she's finishing up medical school and getting the best news of her life after "Match Day."
It’s a national program that matches medical students with a residency.
She’s finding out that she'll be doing her residency at UVa where it all started when she was 22 years old.
"It was a privilege to have a brain tumor. It was gift. Without it I would not be here doing what I’m doing. I would not change it. It was painful and it was the hardest thing I've ever done, but without it I wouldn't be here and I wouldn't be able to give back to the field that saved my life,” said Kalan.
Her family and friends say she's a hero for encouraging people to keep going and never give up even when times get tough.
“I am extremely proud. It's a humbling kind of pride. It's just beyond what any mother could possibly feel for her child,” said Susan Kalan, Mother.
Erin will be participating in UVa's Child Neurology Residency Program and she’s hoping to help young kids with brain tumors.
"The best part is knowing that I am finally going to be able to give other people the same chance that I was given by my doctors the chance to survive, the chance to live and the chance to pursue my dream,” said Erin Kalan.