Three different people describe similar experiences with someone who stands alongside them during their journeys.
There's no easy way to sum up how much Jessica Ellison, M.S.N., RN, BA, means to the patients she works with. From the first time meeting her, I felt like I had a new big sister, one who truly cares and isn't afraid to show tough love. She's persistent and more on top of her game than any nurse I've dealt with in the five years I've been fighting fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma at six different facilities I've received treatment from. Every time I have to travel from my home in Louisiana to Rush University Medical Center in Chicago for procedures and surgeries, I know everything is in order, and if it's not, Jessica is going to fix it before I arrive. She should be a body builder with all the weight she lifts from her patients' shoulders.
You are an exceptional human being. You are the first line of defense for scared families who count on you to make it all come together so Dr. Kent/Dr. Schadde can do what they do best! Thank you for the dedication, persistence and, most importantly, always making yourself available! We are blessed to have you alongside us in this fight!
Jessica is the oncology nurse for Dr. Kent, Dr. Schadde and Dr. Hertle who in collaboration works with Dr. Kent's patients with fibrolamellar hepatocellular carcinoma. She is the one who balances the medical team and coordinates with those of us who have Rush University Medical Center as part of their Fibro Fighter's Team. Jessica demonstrates compassion for our fighters while at the same time managing physician and family needs, personalities and schedules. When working with Jessica toward whatever the next step is in my daughter Lacey's care, we know that we can absolutely count on her every step of the way. I believe she is an extraordinary healer in going for the cure of a rare cancer. While fibrolamellar carcinoma affects one in 5 million, to say Jessica (like our fighters) is one in a million would be an understatement. We credit her along with the Rush University Medical Center team in saving Lacey's life. She is gift to the lives she touches.
—Joy Funkhouser and Lacey White-Stahura
Editor’s Note: This is an essay submitted by Fibrolamellar Hepatocellular Community Members for the 2021 Extraordinary Healer Award. Click here to read more about CURE®’s Extraordinary Healer® Award for Oncology Nursing event on April 30, 2021.
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