WINNER OF THE 2014 EXTRAORDINARY HEALER AWARD FOR ONCOLOGY NURSING
CINDI CANTRIL, RN, OCN, MPH, remembers only the eyes of her patients.
She was 15 and volunteering with patients who had head and neck cancer while her mother was finishing her nursing degree. Their heads had been bandaged completely after surgery, so they couldn’t speak. Only their eyes told her what they needed. It was the moment that she says she knew she wanted to speak for cancer patients.
SHE ENTERED nursing school as soon as she graduated from high school, beginning her advocacy then and continuing it today as the Clinical Breast Care Nurse for Sutter Health in Santa Rosa, California. She is also the 2014 recipient of CURE’s Extraordinary Healer Award for Oncology Nursing.
“My mother finished nursing school at 51, and I worked at the hospital as a volunteer when I was a teenager; my very first support group had patients with cancer on the roof of their mouth, melanoma, thyroid cancer, ovarian cancer.”
Cindi didn’t care. It was a sacred space to her patients and to her, a place where people were heard
Today, Cindi meets breast cancer patients and sets them up for biopsies. She is also the one who tells them they have breast cancer.
“I know the words I say are going to change her life,” she says. “I tell them what I think the next six months will look like and then focus on now.”
Ann Tallman [left] with Cynthia Cantril, RN, OCN, MPH