Sitcom star Valerie Harper congratulates nurses, shares her own story at special ceremony at Oncology Nursing Society's 40th Annual Congress
ORLANDO, Fla. (April 24, 2015) — “Kind,” “selfless,” “the voice of reason” and “truly an extraordinary healer” were among the ways Denise Weiner described pediatric oncology nurse Laura Vasquez of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, who cared for her daughter, Alexa, during her five-year battle with a malignant brain tumor. Through chemotherapy, radiation, brain resections, a bone marrow transplant and numerous experimental treatments, Vasquez continued caring for Alexa, stopping by the house to visit Alexa when she was not in the hospital and even sitting vigil during the young girl’s last hours.
Judges of the competition for CURE™ magazine’s Extraordinary Healer™ Award for Oncology Nursing were so impressed with Vasquez’s approach to caring that they selected her out of scores of outstanding oncology nurses to receive the 2015 Extraordinary Healer Award. More than 1,000 nurses attended the 9th annual Healer reception and ceremony that was held during the Oncology Nursing Society’s 40th Annual Congress in Orlando last night.
“I’m a healer. I’m a fixer,” said Vasquez, R.N., C.P.O.N., a Los Angeles resident. “People think it’s extraordinary, but I really just try to do for them what I would do for my own family.” (See a video featuring Vasquez and the two other finalists for the Extraordinary Healer Award, Beverly Moser, R.N., of Rose Quarter Compass Oncology in Portland, Ore., and Elmeria Teffeteller, R.N., M.S.N., A.P.R.N., A.O.C.N., of The University of Tennessee Medical Center Cancer Institute, by accessing this link: http://www.curetoday.com/cure-tv/2015-Extraordinary-Healer-Award-Overview.)
Joining Vasquez on stage was award-winning actress and cancer survivor Valerie Harper, best known as Rhoda Morgenstern on the 1970s sitcoms “Rhoda” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Harper knows firsthand the important role of oncology nurses, having battled cancer of the lung and the meninges, the membranes surrounding the brain. Having undergone targeted therapy, she shared yesterday that she’s feeling good.
Harper stressed the importance of oncology nurses to cancer patients and their families. “There is such an enormous amount to know technically, to know intellectually, and then to bring all this heart with it.” Equally important, she said, are ways nurses help patients deal with mental and spiritual aspects of cancer and their being “the plain old mommy hugging you.” (See a video of an interview with her prior to yesterday’s ceremony by accessing this link: http://www.curetoday.com/cure-tv/Valerie-Harper-Discusses-her-Cancer-Journey.)
Also recognized last night were the two other finalists. Beverly Moser is an oncology nurse who overcame a language barrier to help her Iranian cancer patient who spoke little English, and Elmeria Teffeteller is a nurse manager at The University of Tennessee Medical Center Cancer Institute. She cares for patients as well as for their oncology nurse healers. More background about each finalist can be found at http://www.curetoday.com/extraordinaryhealer.
The Extraordinary Healer Award for Oncology Nursing is a program sponsored by CURE Media Group to recognize nurses whose compassion, expertise and helpfulness have made an incredible impact on someone affected by cancer.
“Every single nominee for this award should be recognized for outstanding efforts on behalf of patients, their families and other healthcare workers,” said Mike Hennessy Jr., president of Intellisphere Oncology and Healthcare Specialty Group. “Given the complexities of evolving cancer treatments, oncology nurses have very challenging jobs, remaining well-educated, independent thinkers while at the same time providing comfort, care and advocacy for their patients.”
Vasquez will be featured in an upcoming issue of CURE magazine. She will also receive an all-expenses-paid spa trip for two.
“I’m thrilled to be honored, but the truth is I’m doing a job I love,” she said. “The real heroes who should be recognized are the Weiners and their amazing daughter, Alexa.”
About CURE Magazine and CURE Media Group
CURE Media Group’s flagship product, CURE magazine, is the indispensable guide to every stage of the cancer experience. With nearly 1 million readers, CURE is the largest consumer publication in the United States focused entirely on cancer, with broad distribution to cancer patients, cancer centers and advocacy groups. Through the magazine, live meetings, a resource guide for the newly diagnosed, the Extraordinary Healer™ national nursing award, and other books and online tools, CURE Media Group combines science and humanity to make cancer understandable. CURE Media Group is part of the Plainsboro, N.J.-based Michael J. Hennessy Associates, Inc. (MJH) family of businesses, which includes the acclaimed OncLive® (www.OncLive.com) platform of resources for the practicing oncologist. For more information on MJH Associates, Inc., please visit www.curetoday.com or www.mjhassoc.com.
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