Patient Ambassadors

Meet Iris

Iris at Parade

I Say Yes to Being Me

By Iris, Seattle, Washington

I’m 17 years old and Seattle Children’s has been part of my life since I was 6. I became sick and started having headaches after a family trip to Puerto Rico — and the next thing I knew, I was being treated for brain and spinal tumors at Seattle Children’s.

Iris in HospitalThe team took great care of me. They saved my life, but there was a cost to my treatment. After months of radiation and chemotherapy, I had permanent hair loss and my hearing was also affected. I even had to relearn how to walk. With hard work and lots of physical and occupational therapy, I started to get my life back on track.

Because I have so many providers that I trust at Seattle Children’s, it felt like the right place go when I started thinking about my gender in 9th grade. I was feeling uncomfortable in my body and began to question the gender that was listed on my birth certificate.

Iris and DogsI came to Seattle Children’s Gender Clinic. It’s an amazing place where I can ask questions without feeling abnormal. Since my medical situation is complicated because of my earlier cancer treatment, I needed my providers to think creatively to support my transition.

The cancer and gender teams worked together, and everyone made me feel like I could make my own decisions about my gender and sexuality. It means everything that I have a safe place to get whatever type of medical care I need.

“I don’t want to be defined by my diagnosis, my gender or my sexuality. I am, above all else, a person.”

– Iris, patient

IrisThe most important thing to know about me is that I’m more than the sum of my parts. I don’t want to be defined by my diagnosis, my gender or my sexuality.

I am, above all else, a person.

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It Starts With Yes: The Campaign for Seattle Children’s is a bold initiative – $1 billion bold – to partner with our community and deliver on our shared vision to transform children’s health for generations to come. With your generous support, we can envision a day when we can say yes to hope, care and cure for every child. See what your yes can do donate today.