Winning the battle against leukemia, student opts for WCSU nursing program

DANBURY, CONN. — As a high school freshman, David Balfore thought he had his future cinched up. After ending his football season with 23 touchdowns, the Berlin, Conn., native was looking toward athletic scholarships and a teaching career. But his plans were sidelined after facial paralysis, fever and headaches sent him to the hospital.

At 15 years old, Balfore was diagnosed with t-cell leukemia.

Balfore spent months undergoing rounds of treatment, including chemotherapy, to battle his illness at Hartford Children’s Medical Center. What he remembers most amid the lost school days and months of debilitating treatment were the nurses who nurtured him back to health. It was then he decided to become a nurse.

“I want to be able to help people like the nurses who helped me,” said the 19-year-old WCSU pre-nursing major. After much research into universities and colleges in the region, Balfore concluded that Western offered the highest-quality education at the most affordable cost. “I think Western’s nursing program is the best program of all the schools I applied to. I can get the most here.”

Among one of the most popular majors, the nursing program has a close working relationship with Danbury Hospital, and WCSU nursing students have achieved near-perfect scores on the state licensing exam for more than four years.

Balfore lives on the WCSU campus and says he’s met lots of friends and understanding professors. He still goes for monthly treatment for his illness but has been in remission since last fall. Balfore said he enjoys speaking with other patients at the Hartford hospital, who are mostly younger children. “I tell them to always stay strong and that it’s going to get better,” he said. “It helps that I can relate.”

Balfore also participates in the annual American Cancer Society Relay for Life event in his hometown. In 2010, as a guest speaker, he shared his experience of having leukemia and told his listeners to never give up.

“I would like to be an oncology nurse because I can relate and help those patients the most. But I would love to be a nurse in any field,” he said. “I want to be there for someone when they need it most.”


Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

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