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Nurse on frontlines against COVID fights on despite skin cancer diagnosis

Tanna Ingraham is a travel nurse from Katy. If you talk to her for 10 minutes, you'll hear some truly touching stories -- including her own.

HOUSTON — Healthcare workers have made taken it upon themselves to keep doing what they can to help during the pandemic.

That includes a local travel nurse who is doing so despite some major personal obstacles.

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"It's what I was built for," Tanna Ingraham said. "It's what I was made to do."

Ingraham is a travel nurse from Katy. If you talk to her for 10 minutes, you'll hear some truly touching stories, including her own.

"She put this on me the first day I left to go fight COVID," Ingraham said. "She said I'm not allowed to take it off until I'm done fighting COVID, and this has been on since March of 2020."

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The "she" Ingraham is referring to is her 11-year-old daughter, Madeline.

KHOU 11 met first met Ingraham inside the United Memorial Medical Center COVID ICU nine months after her daughter gave her that green bracelet. Ingraham said in those nine months, she contracted COVID twice. This was well before a vaccine was available.

"I was begging God honestly to let me go," Ingraham said. "It hurt, and it was that miserable."

From UMMC, she traveled to California helping hospitals overwhelmed with COVID patients. She returned to Katy last month. That's when Ingraham went in for a routine check-up.

"She looked at me within seconds and she was, like, 'Oh, yeah, we're doing a biopsy,'" Ingraham said. "'You definitely have skin cancer.'"

Doctors discovered a spot on her face and determined that it was basal cell carcinoma.

"It was a shocker," Ingraham said.

The news came the day before she was supposed to leave for another COVID ICU in Mississippi.

"Dealing with what I've dealt with before...I'm more prepared this time," Ingraham said.

"You've had COVID not just once, but twice, and yet you're choosing to go work inside another COVID ICU. Why?" KHOU 11's Xavier Walton asked her.

"I'm healthy, and there are people who need people like me," Ingraham said. "I'm a healer. I know how to take care of people."

She's been a nurse for nearly two decades, and her recent diagnosis isn't stopping her now.

"That's what we need to do as nurses. We need to step up and save lives," Ingraham said. "People are dying left and right."