PHILADELPHIA, PA (August 27, 2014)—Fox Chase Cancer Center infusion room nurses Karen Lorek, RN, and Caitlin Foley, RN, will each be honored on Saturday, September 6 by Lisa’s Army – a local non-profit cancer organization – during its Inaugural Ball & Monte Carlo Night at St. Gregory’s Founders Hall (8701 Ridge Avenue in Philadelphia). At the organization’s premier formal event of the year, the nurses will be receiving the Lisa's Army Comfort Excellence Award for their professionalism, expertise, compassion, and actions well beyond the scope of their job responsibilities.
Lisa's Army, based in Lafayette Hill, is focused on providing comfort to individuals with all types of cancer. They provide Comfort Care Packages to cancer patients undergoing treatment. These packages typically include personal hygiene items, a journal, pens, playing cards, an Apple iPad, an iTunes Gift Card, comfortable blanket and a greeting card with words of encouragement.
The organization was established by friends and family of Lisa Loonstyn-Golden, who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the young age of 20, and passed away in May 2012, as a tribute to her life. “We are committed to fulfilling the wishes that Lisa outlined in her journal,” said her mother, Marie Loonstyn. “Her primary wish was to provide comfort to those courageous individuals battling cancer.”
Both nurses, who treat a variety of cancer types at Fox Chase, consistently demonstrated quality care to Lisa and other patients. “Lisa, regardless of her condition, could always count on Karen and Caitlin to lift her spirits with their friendly demeanor and to take the very best care of her,” her mother shared. “They made Lisa feel like she was their most important patient. They would even go out of their way to wish her well whenever she was anywhere in the hospital. They are truly exceptional nurses.”
Lorek remembers Lisa fondly. “She had a will to live like no other. She was an inspiration because she was strong and never ever gave up. She would never feel sorry for herself or be angry or sad,” she said. “I am honored to receive this award because I have never received any awards for my nursing care. I truly love being a nurse.” Foley, who is engaged and had originally planned to hold her bachelorette party the same day as the organization’s inaugural ball, said that when she learned she was being honored she decided to invite her friends and family to join her at the event in lieu of going out on the town. The girls are planning on wearing teal dresses – the color of ovarian cancer awareness – to show their support for Lisa’s Army.
“My girlfriends loved the idea as well, especially since they know how much my patients mean to me,” said Foley who will be attending the event with about 25 of her friends and family, including her mother and future mother-in-law. “I love the idea that I will be spending the evening celebrating the memory of such an incredible young woman with all of the women that mean so much to me.”
Foley said her relationship with Lisa changed her as a nurse. “It gave me the realization that even the littlest of actions can make a huge difference in a patient’s day.”
Lisa’s care was managed by Angela Jain, MD, Medical Oncologist at Fox Chase, who commented that quality and compassionate nursing care – the kind Lorek and Foley offer – truly makes a difference for patients. “They both add a positive dimension of care for patients,” Dr. Jain said. “As infusion room nurses, they are also an extra set of eyes for me, because they spend a lot of time with the patient. I depend on their expertise and intuition, and they are able to help the patients with suggestions of dealing with side effects of treatment. Both Caitlin and Karen are amazing nurses and continue to offer patients here exceptional care and support.”
For more information on the Lisa’s Army Inaugural Ball and Monte Carlo Night, which will take place September 6 from 7:00 until 11:00 p.m., please visit www.lisasarmy.org.