David Moskowitz has come a long way in four years — finishing nursing school, co-oping at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and being cleared of the rare neurological disorder that nearly killed him his senior year of high school.
"I made it," Moskowitz said. "I graduated and I'm thriving right now. I'm doing the best I have out of these past four years."
Now, Moskowitz has landed a job in the specialized intensive care unit at Cincinnati Children's where he was once a patient. He takes his boards this summer.
"I just love learning from them and everyone there is really smart," Moskowitz said. "I can just be there for my patients, be able to provide empathy for them and sit down with them and be like 'I've been there.'"
In his senior year at Sycamore, then-17-year-old Moskowitz woke up one weekend with tingling on the right side of his face. He went to lacrosse practice and took an exam at school. The tingling didn't go away. Then he got an MRI that showed a life-threatening issue in his brain. An ambulance rushed him to Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center where he was diagnosed with hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia, a genetic birth disorder sometimes known as Osler-Weber-Rendu disease and Osler-Weber-Rendu syndrome. His twin brother Jack has it too.
"Nothing challenges you like getting hospitalized ... almost fighting for your life and almost dying," Moskowitz said.
Student-athletes across the Tri-State started showing up to support Moskowitz, wearing and posting #DavidStrong and #GiveItUpfor16. Moskowitz said that support helped him through tough times and loneliness while in the hospital.
He called this summer the start of a new journey after plenty of lows the last four years, but highs that include his recent award and a renewed focus on his mission to spread awareness about pediatric strokes and prevention.
"At times, I questioned, like, are we done with this? Is it time to move on with my life and be the best nurse I can be?" Moskowitz said. "This award helped me realize that I still can make a difference in this world, my story still matters."
May is National Stroke Awareness Month.