Dina Atra

Please briefly describe your clinical/medical experience to date?

I have been working as a HCA on the children’s cancer ward at The Royal Marsden hospital since September 2020, and have just begun my first year of Graduate Entry Medicine at Warwick Medical School.

What motivated you to enter paediatric medical care in the first place?

I would say that my time at The Royal Marsden hospital solidified the idea in my mind that I want to work in paediatrics. Seeing ailing children can be emotionally challenging, however, as a healthcare professional, you have an opportunity to make the time the children and their families spend in hospital that little bit easier. It can be so fun working with children, and more often than not, I have found myself spending time on the ward sitting with the families, having a chat and listening to them, playing card games, building Lego or watching new shows and movies with them. Children are extremely resilient, and try to search for the good in every situation. I truly believe that they deserve more than what we have to offer those of them who are fighting cancer.

How will the funding from The Evie Dove Foundation help you to advance your career and your impact/services to children?

The funding I receive from The Evie Dove Foundation will be going towards the tuition and accommodation fees for my first year of medical school. This helps alleviate some of the financial burden that comes with pursuing a graduate degree, and enables me to focus my time on my studies, volunteering and extra-curricular activities instead. My long-term goal for the future is to specialise in paediatrics.

How did you find out about The Evie Dove Foundation?

I first heard about The Evie Dove Foundation from my colleague, Cuba Parris, who I worked with at The Royal Marsden hospital, and who looked after Evie herself there. I was also lucky enough to meet Evie at the hospital myself. One of the things that stood out to me most about all of our interactions was that she was always smiling, and always positive, no matter the adversity she was facing. Her and her family were an absolute delight to look after.

Tell us about yourself!

I come from London, but am currently living in Warwick for university. In my spare time, I love doing music. I have been playing the piano and guitar for most of my life now, and really enjoy singing and writing songs. Beyond this, I love travelling, swimming, seeing my friends, spending time with my parents and my brother, and working on the children’s cancer ward. Although it can be extremely physically and emotionally challenging at times, it is a huge privilege to be in a position where I can help make our patients’ time on the ward a bit easier or a bit more fun, and I truly look forward to my shifts there.

Anything else you would like to tell us about your experience, future aspirations and motivations?

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to specialise in Paediatric Oncology. I have seen first-hand the detrimental effects that both cancer, and the treatments we have to offer for it, can have on children and young people. I would like to be a part of the team that can give these people back their lives. I have a particular interest in Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML), and cord blood transplants, and can see myself specialising in this in the years to come. My main hope for the future is that we find kinder, more effective treatments, to help successfully treat children and young people, like Evie, who have cancer.