Extraordinary healer award
Honoring Oncology Nurses as Extraordinary Healers

Each year, CURE® magazine gives readers a unique opportunity to honor an oncology nurse through the Extraordinary Healer® Award for Oncology Nursing by describing the compassion, expertise and helpfulness that a special oncology nurse has exhibited.

At the Extraordinary Healer Award® for Oncology Nursing reception, held in conjunction with the Oncology Nursing Society's (ONS) Annual Congress and attended by nearly a thousand nurses from across the country, each of the three nominations are read aloud, and one nurse is awarded the Extraordinary Healer Award® and a special prize in recognition of his or her service to patients with cancer and survivors.

In addition to the presentation of the finalist essays, the reception also features a recognized keynote speaker, food, music and an overall celebration of the field of oncology nursing. In 2017, the awards ceremony and celebration will be held during the 42nd ONS Annual Congress to be held May 4-7, 2017 in Denver, Colorado.






2016 Extraordinary Healer Award Finalists

2016  Extraordinary Healer Award Finalists, Carmi Fazio, RN, MSN, ONA Carmi Fazio, RN, MSN, ONA
Molina Healthcare
Oak Brook, Illinois
Nominated by Lisa Chapman

When patients of Molina Healthcare need help, they call the managed care nurse Carmi Fazio, RN, MSN, ONA, or, if she hasn’t heard from them, she is the one doing the calling. She answers questions, educates about treatment and prepares patients for side effects, telling them, “You call me if you have trouble.”

But the 80 to 90 patients she talks with every week just reflect her day job. At night she volunteers to talk with patients from around the country and internationally who she met while a nurse moderator for a website offered by the American Cancer Society. The calls come from across the U.S. and from Scotland, Belgium, the Philippines or even Saudi Arabia. In response to why she kept counseling these patients when she was no longer on the site, she says, “You can’t make a commitment to the journey and then walk away.”

Fazio calls herself a late bloomer, not finding her path in life until her 40s while working as a floor nurse at an elite hospital. “I could see at the end of the hall past a glass wall that there was much more going on, and when I asked my manager what it was, she said it was the oncology unit, and to work there I needed specialization in areas I didn’t have.” Fazio didn’t blink before she said, “sign me up.”

From then on, it has been a dedication that anyone would call above and beyond. Fazio has bought her patients cell phones and paid for funerals when there were no funds. For patients who had to stay in town for treatment over the holidays, she brought them into her home so they wouldn’t be alone in a hotel. Her elderly mother still lives upstairs, and Fazio says her role is to add patients to her prayer list.

Her greatest commitment to her patients comes in her focus on connection, because she explains, most of them simply want to know someone is there in the moment. All her patients have her home telephone number because she is concerned someone may take over their pain management who doesn’t understand the patient or their drug regimen.

Fazio says that when she thinks of all the men and women she has worked with, there is no doubt that she has learned much more from them than they have from her.

For those who she has been with to the end, she says it is like “watching angels take flight.”

2016  Extraordinary Healer Award Finalists, Lynne Joy Malestic, RN Lynne Joy Malestic, RN
Eisenhower Lucy Curci Cancer Center
Rancho Mirage, California
Nominated by Cera Stanford, RN, BSN, PHN

Lynne Malestic can’t wait to go to work. Every day she wakes filled with joy that she will spend her day taking care of patients with cancer as an infusion nurse.

She brings to her patients a caring and calm that they cannot explain other than to say that when she is there, they are calm. She says that when she is with them, she is also calm.

Her ability to listen came in handy in her first career as a bartender. She held the job while getting her first nursing certification, but there was never any question that she would be a nurse.

“Everyone called my mother, Mother Teresa, because she took care of everyone whether they were family or friends. I grew up helping to care for others.”

After completing her RN, she worked in obstetrics for 15 years until her best friend was diagnosed with colon cancer.

“She was the one who kept pushing me to complete my RN,” Malestic says. “I went to the hospital with her for chemotherapy and was really excited to learn something new.”

After getting chemo-certified, Malestic jumped right in to oncology; her friends from obstetrics told her she would be back. She never considered it.

It wasn’t long before an oncologist asked her to work for him, and, after some negotiation, she agreed. Today she works five days a week taking care of her patients — even taking them into her home if need be.

Malestic came to know a couple who had no support outside the hospital. The wife had lung cancer, and Malestic gave them her phone number encouraging them to call if they needed anything. The next day the husband called and said that after his wife’s radiation, she could no longer climb the stairs to their apartment.

She moved them into her home for two months until she could find ground-floor housing. They continued to be friends even after the wife died, and then when the husband developed cancer, he returned to Lynne’s home where he lived until he died 17 months later.

Malestic says she knows some might see such involvement as too much, but not for her or her family. Both her husband and daughter were involved in the couple’s care. Today Malestic’s daughter talks about being an oncology nurse.

“She wanted to be an oncologist until she did volunteer work and saw the doctors leave and the nurses continuing to work with the patients. That was when she decided it was nursing she wanted.”

2016 Extraordinary Healer Award Finalists, Diana Gordon, RN, MSN, CPNP, CPON Diana Gordon, RN, MSN, CPNP, CPON
Division of Pediatric Hematology Oncology
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Nominated by Julie Blatt, MD

When Diana Gordon, RN, MSN, CPNP, CPON, began working with hospitalized children on the general pediatric floor early in her nursing career, she found it was the children with chronic illnesses that drew her to them, including cancer because of the ongoing therapy it required. She also found it was important to include the whole family, establishing a relationship that would give the family a sense of security.

For the past 26 years, Gordon has specialized in hematology/oncology pediatric cases. “I felt like I could make a difficult situation easier to bear,” says Gordon of the hundreds of children and families she has cared for. “Being there day after day gave them continuity, which enabled trust and therefore security.”

Nurses do whatever it takes to meet the needs of their patients, Gordon adds. With her soft voice, it’s hard to imagine insurance companies responding when she calls about reversing a denial for coverage of a specialty drug for one of her patients, but they do, because Gordon doesn’t give up. “I don’t want a family to worry about how they will pay for treatments,” she says. “They need to focus on caring for their child.”

Gordon appreciates how children deal with illness, continuing to do the things they enjoy and getting out of bed as quickly as possible. Getting on the floor to play with her patients, Gordon says she can take time for assessments that children don’t even know are happening. They want to be normal, so they play and use games to get through the hard times.

During her tenure as a nurse, Gordon has watched dramatic changes, as cure rates for childhood cancer have risen to more than 90 percent. But she recognizes it still takes a team to care for children with cancer and their families, including financial counselors, social workers, psychology specialists and physical therapists, to name a few. As a nurse practitioner, Gordon has been able to help meet those needs through relationships that can be difficult to explain.

“Today I had an 8-year-old who came in with problems that indicate her tumor may have recurred. She arrived wearing a new ring and was so proud to give me one so we could be just alike. I think that in her own way she knows we are in this together.”


Extraordinary Healer Event

Each year, CURE® magazine invites patients, survivors, caregivers and peers to submit an essay in nomination of an extraordinary oncology nurse in their lives. The contest, CURE magazine's Extraordinary Healer Award for Oncology Nursing, offers these essayists and the nurses they nominate the chance to win an all-expenses-paid trip to an annual awards ceremony and reception held in their honor.

The awards ceremony and reception, was held on April 28, 2016, in conjunction with the Oncology Nursing Society's 41st Annual Congress, was attended by approximately one thousand nurses from across the country. This year's winner, Lynn Malestic, of the Eisenhower Lucy Curci Cancer Center in Rancho Mirage, California, was awarded the Extraordinary Healer Award for 2016 and a special spa trip to Travaasa Spa in Austin, Texas, in recognition of her service to her patients and their families. In addition to the presentation of the finalist essays, the reception also featured an inspirational and humorous, keynote from Emmy award-winning actor Eric Stonestreet, of television’s hit comedy “Modern Family.”

Extraordinary Healer Event

Each year, CURE® magazine invites patients, survivors, caregivers and peers to submit an essay in nomination of an extraordinary oncology nurse in their lives. The contest, CURE magazine's Extraordinary Healer Award for Oncology Nursing, offers these essayists and the nurses they nominate the chance to win an all-expenses-paid trip to an annual awards ceremony and reception held in their honor.

The awards ceremony and reception, was held on April 23, 2015, in conjunction with the Oncology Nursing Society's 40th Annual Congress, was attended by close to a thousand nurses from across the country. Each of the three essay nominations were read aloud to standing ovations. This year's winner, Laura Vasquez, of Children's Hospital Los Angeles, was awarded the Extraordinary Healer Award for 2015 and a special spa trip to Travaasa Spa in Austin, Texas, in recognition of her service to her pediatric patients and their families. In addition to the presentation of the finalist essays, the reception also featured an inspirational, and at times humorous, keynote from award-winning actress and author, Valerie Harper.

Do you Know?
StarW I N N E R
The Gift of Giving
Written by: Ann Tallman
Nominating: Cindi Cantril, RN, OCN, of Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation

My Dad’s Dime 
Written by: Mary Kay Morelli
Nominating: Noelle Paul, RN, OCN, CAPA, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

If You Need Me, Call and I Will Be There 
Written by: Chuck Wilson
Nominating: Anne Todd, RN, OCN, of Indiana University Health Southern Indiana Physicians
Extraordinary healers

About the Book

The tenth volume of the award-winning series, Extraordinary Healers: CURE Readers Honor Oncology Nurses, highlights the extraordinary men and women who make a difference in patients' lives.

To celebrate nurses, CURE created the Extraordinary Healer Award for Oncology Nursing, asking readers to write an essay about an oncology nurse who went above and beyond to help them heal. The top essayists and their nurses are honored at a reception held in conjunction with the Oncology Nursing Society's annual congress.

To pay tribute to all the nurses nominated, CURE compiled the top essays received for the contest into Extraordinary Healers: CURE Readers Honor Oncology Nurses. This book includes the winning essay, finalist essays and a collection of nominated essays from the contest. Coupled with exquisite black-and-white photography, CURE readers tell the amazing stories of these exceptional nurses in this unique set of books.

In its tenth installment, Extraordinary Healers features a variety of teaching moments from the featured essays and a list of all nurses who were nominated for the 2016 award.

The printing and distribution of this inspiring book has been made possible by the generous support of Amgen, Takeda Oncology and Bristol-Myers Squibb.


Patrick Dempsey

Patrick Dempsey is best known for his portrayal of Dr. Derek Shepherd on the hit ABC series, “Grey’s Anatomy.”  Over the last 11 years, his performance earned him a 2007 Screen Actors Guild Award. He was nominated for the People’s Choice Awards as lead television actor seven times and in 2015, took home his 3nd award.  In addition, Patrick was nominated for the 2006 & 2007 Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama and a 2006 Screen Actors Guild nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series.  Most recently, Dempsey was seen in Universal’s Bridget Jones’s Baby alongside Renee Zellweger and Colin Firth.

Patrick Dempsey’s production company, Shifting Gears produces content for both television and film. They have optioned the book The Limit, for which they are currently developing a series at SundanceTV as well as a series called “Fodors,” which is being developed at NBC international.  Shifting Gears is also a producer on Universal’s, Art of Racing in the Rain.

Alongside his passion for acting, is his great passion for motorsports. Dempsey has been competitively driving and operating his race and championship winning Dempsey Racing team for nearly a decade.  In 2013 Dempsey starred in the docu-series, “Patrick Dempsey: Racing Le Mans” for Velocity Channel, produced by Shifting Gears.  The series follows Dempsey as he serves as both owner and driver for an auto racing team tackling the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans – the world’s oldest automotive endurance race.  Dempsey served as both the executive producer and on-air focus for the series.

In response to his mother’s multiple bouts with ovarian cancer, Dempsey founded the Dempsey Center in Lewiston, Maine in 2008 with the intention of giving back to the community where he grew up, and where his mother first received cancer treatment. The Dempsey Center improves the quality of life for individuals, families and communities impacted by cancer through free support, education, complementary therapies, and prevention.  Dempsey returns to Maine each fall for the Center’s signature run, walk, and cycle fundraising experience, the Dempsey Challenge presented by Amgen®, which raised over $1.3M in 2016.

His film credits include: TRANSFORMERS: Dark of The Moon, Valentine’s Day, Made of Honor, Enchanted, Freedom Writers, Sweet Home Alabama, Scream 3, With Honors, Outbreak, Hugo Pool, The Treat, The Palace Thief, Heaven Help Us, Happy Together, Some Girls, Coupe De Ville, Run, Mobsters, and In the Mood.  Dempsey became well known from such classic ‘80s nostalgia films such as, Can’t Buy Me Love and Loverboy.

Dempsey nabbed an Emmy nomination in 2001 for his portrayal of “Aaron Brooks,” Sela Ward’s psychologically unbalanced brother in the critically acclaimed television program, “Once & Again.”  In 2003, he made a memorable guest appearance on NBC’s hit show, “Will & Grace,” as Will’s love interest and in 2004 co-starred in the highly-acclaimed HBO production, Iron Jawed Angels, opposite Hilary Swank and Anjelica Huston.

Additionally, Dempsey starred in the NBC movie based on Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment opposite Ben Kingsley.  He also appeared in the television miniseries, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea with Michael Caine.  He co-starred with Oliver Reed in the biblical epic, Jeremiah. Other television movies and miniseries include JFK: Reckless Youth, A Season in Purgatory, Blood Knot, The Right to Remain Silent, Shallow Grave, and Blonde.

Born and raised in Lewiston, Maine, he first appeared onstage as David in the San Francisco production of “Torch Song Trilogy.”  Other early stage work included “On Golden Pond” for the Maine Acting Company, the international touring production of “Brighton Beach Memoirs” which was directed by Gene Saks and “The Subject Was Roses” at the Roundabout Theatre in New York.  He also took the stage in The Pasadena Playhouse run of “The Importance of Being Earnest” as Algernon Moncrieff.

RSVP for the 2017 CURE® Extraordinary Healer® Award for Oncology Nursing Celebration
This awards reception event will feature hors d'oeuvres, reception buffet and beverages. Don't miss this chance to celebrate oncology nurses!

NO continuing nursing education (CNE) contact hours will be awarded.

Meeting space has been assigned to provide a Symposia supported by CURE Media Group during the Oncology Nursing Society's (ONS) 42nd Annual Congress, May 4-7, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. The Oncology Nursing Society's assignment of meeting space does not imply product endorsement.

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Thursday, May 4, 2017
ONS 42nd Annual Congress
Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center
Centennial Ballroom (located on the 3rd Floor)
Denver, Colorado
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
(registration is from 5:30 pm - 6:00 pm)

PLEASE NOTE: Due to high demand and
limited seating, we require all registrants to also stop by the CURE booth (559) to confirm registration and pick up a "fast pass" ticket. Registrants who do not bring their "fast pass" ticket will be required to wait in the onsite registration line. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding!

RSVP is not a guarantee of admission as seating is limited. Please plan to arrive by at least 5:30 pm and bring your "fast pass" ticket.

Guests of Congress attendees are welcome to join us! Please register each individual separately on the registration page.

Open seating begins at 5:45 pm. "Open seating" means that seats not occupied at that time by preregistered attendees will be forfeited to on-site registrants. Doors close at the posted program time or when all seatsare filled, whichever comes first. We do our best to adhere to this timeframe; however, due to circumstances beyond our control, we may be required to open for onsite registrants sooner.

For registration assistance or further details, please e-mail Leigha Rosa-Ashmen at lrosaashmen@mjhevents.com, or call 609-378-3143.

CURE Media Group, LLC (CURE®) reserves the exclusive rights to all recordings or reproductions of the celebration event and supporting materials. Unauthorized recording, by any means, is expressly prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, recording of awards ceremony or reproductions of supporting audio/visual materials and other supporting materials.

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