November 8, 2023
Sixteen-year-old Andie Morrison is no stranger to London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) and Children’s Hospital.
Andie was born with Diamond Blackfan Anemia (DBA), a rare bone marrow failure which had her fighting for her life at the early age of nine weeks old.
Children with DBA have bone marrow that does not make enough red blood cells. A part of red blood cells called hemoglobin carries oxygen to the whole body and when the number of red blood cells is low, anemia develops, and the body cannot work at a normal pace.
Throughout her journey, Andie has received more than 240 blood transfusions and this past June she underwent a bone marrow transplant which has successfully allowed her body, for the first time in her life, to create enough red blood cells on its own.
“I grew up in the hospital and I feel medical anatomy is cool,” says Andie Morrison. “I learned about red blood cells when I was only five years old, and since then, I always want to learn more about medicine, research, and what is happening within my own body.”
Andie still requires close monitoring, which is done several times a month at London Health Sciences Centre. Some of that monitoring is through the Medical Radiologist Technologist (MRT) team who have worked very closely with Andie. Throughout her life she has had several X-Rays, Ultrasounds, CTs, MRIs and Interventional Radiology exams.
It could sound overwhelming and even scary to some, but Andie’s experience has both inspired and interested her in a way that has led to her future career aspirations.
“During an ultrasound when I was 10, the technologist showed me the screen and what they were looking at and I thought it was so cool” explains Andie. “That night at the dinner table, I told my parents I want to be an ultrasound technologist at LHSC so I can give back to the hospital that has done so much for me.”
Learning about her interest and future goals, members of the MRT team at LHSC offered to tour Andie through Medical Imaging.
“We toured Andie in a number of areas – MRI, X-ray, Ultrasound, CT, Interventional Radiography and Molecular Imaging and Theragnostic, also known as Nuclear medicine,” says Marcia Trieu, Director of Medical Imaging at LHSC. “It was wonderful to hear about Andie’s interest. The greatest compliment we can receive is knowing that we are inspiring the future generation of healthcare workers.”
Medical Radiation Technologists (MRT) and Diagnostic Medical Sonographers are critical healthcare team members. The dedicated MRT teams utilize their expertise and leading technology to provide high-quality images that directly impact the patient's diagnosis and treatment plan in many areas within the health care system.
“A career as a Medical Radiation Technologist that Andie is aspiring towards, is a truly remarkable choice for those with a passion for science and technology. Each specialized modality offers a distinct chance to make a positive and profound difference in the lives of patients.” Adds Marcia.
Now, in her final years of high school, Andie, who is also a Children's Hero Ambassador for Children's Health Foundation, is getting closer to working towards her career aspirations. She is hoping to do her grade 12 co-op next year within Medical Imaging at LHSC and from there work towards her goal, of giving back to the hospital that helped save her life.
“The staff at LHSC are one of a kind! They are always trying to make you better and have a smile on their face,” says Andie. “When I am here, I know I am not just a job, but a person and patient that they want to help. I want to be part of that and help others one day.”
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