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Why I was meant to be a Riley Cancer Nurse




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Riley Cancer Center nurse Jessica Gorka, R.N., with Walker Allen, Westville, Ind.

When I was a senior in high school I knew I wanted to be in the medical field. I have been extremely influenced by my youngest sibling, Trevor. He was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) when he was very young. He has been my inspiration from day one. I knew going into college I was on a mission to give back. I am so grateful to this day to have my brother still with me. He is 21 now, really does inspire me to this day and will continue to. 

For the longest time I thought I would end up in Chicago where my brother was treated, but I fell in love with Riley Hospital. All of these kids inspire me through their strength. Their will to push through all of this treatment is incredible. 

I knew any type of cancer care would be where I was meant to be. I got hired onto the stem cell transplant unit almost nine years ago and from the start I told my manager this was my dream; my passion. I had to give back after what was given to me. I was meant for this job. I will continue to do this for as long as I can. And though some days are hard, the appreciation you get from patients and families makes it all worth it. We get to witness miracles and watch these kids get better. 

One special patient named Walker formed a bond with me from day one. On the first day he trusted me with so much. He told me that during some rough days where he was not feeling well, he was able to push through this when I was taking care of him. He felt safe. He trusted me. This alone made me feel like my job was even more worth what it already was. 

Walker would asked when my shift was, and asked to “please make sure Jessica gets to take care of me.” These kids really do motivate me. I love to watch them get better and move forward. 

For donors who support Riley, I want you to know that donating really does make a difference. Riley Hospital is amazing, and donating helps us keep going and allows us to do extra for all of these kids.


Jessica Gorka

Jessica Gorka, RN, BSN, is a nurse in the Riley Cancer Center. She is grateful to her husband Ryan Gorka for being her “rock” and encouraging her in her career, and to her mother, stepfather and her late father for their never-ending love and support. She enjoys running and spending time with her puppies, and is interested in photography that focuses on nature’s beauty.


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