Lynne Malestic, center, with left to right, her husband Larry Malestic, daughter Lauren, and mother, Alice Roberts.
Lots of people take their work home with them, but Lynne Malestic, RN, has given the idea new meaning.
The oncology nurse, who can’t wait to go to work every day to shepherd her patients through chemotherapy infusions, didn’t hesitate to volunteer her personal time when she met a couple who barely spoke English and had little income and no resources outside the hospital. As the wife underwent treatment for lung cancer and found herself unable to climb the stairs to her apartment, Malestic took the couple in until she could find them first-floor housing. Later, when the husband, by then a widower, developed cancer, Malestic and her family took him in again and cared for him until his death 17 months later.
For her generous spirit and deep commitment to her field, Malestic was named the 2016 winner of CURE
magazine’s Extraordinary Healer Award for Oncology Nursing. The award was given at the 10th
Annual Extraordinary Healer Awards celebration on Thursday, April 28, in San Antonio, Texas; the gathering dovetailed with the 41st
Annual Congress of the Oncology Nursing Society. Malestic and the winning essay will be featured in an upcoming issue of CURE
magazine, and she received an all-expenses-paid spa trip for two. Runner-up Carmi Fazio, RN, MSN, ONA, is just as willing as Malestic to work around the clock to make the lives of her patients better. Fazio, of Molina Healthcare in Illinois and a former volunteer with an American Cancer Society phone line, spends nearly all her time on her patients, is deeply connected to them and lives modestly so she can provide them with comforts such as cell phones, cable television or a new mattress, sometimes even paying for funerals.
Also a finalist was Diana Gordon, a pediatric oncology nurse with the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill who was lauded not only for supporting the entire families of those she treats, but for being the quiet yet insistent conduit to making sure her gravely ill patients are accepted into clinical trials or that insurance companies pay for their medications.
In a talk peppered with humor, keynote speaker Eric Stonestreet — who plays the role of “Cameron” on the ABC sitcom “Modern Family” and has seen several of his relatives and friends fight cancer — expressed respect and admiration for the three nurses, the nearly 50 others who were nominated by patients, their family members, doctors, fellow nurses or others for their uniquely meaningful contributions to their field, and the oncology nurses who composed most of the audience of more than 1,000 people.
“I’m here to thank each and every one of you, the oncology nurses who are at the front line of cancer care for patients and families every single day. It’s a personal thank you that each and every one of you, as well as oncology nurses everywhere, are so deserving of,” said the two-time Emmy Award winner who has participated in many advocacy events aimed at raising awareness about the disease or money for research.
Michael J. Hennessy, Jr., vice president of CURE Media Group, was delighted to be a part of the 10th
annual celebration.“I’ve seen how cancer can affect a family firsthand, and your daily interactions with patients are truly something special,” he told the winner, finalists and audience. “Your ability to make every patient feel special is vital.”
Serving as mistress of ceremonies for the event was CURE
’s editor-at-large Kathy LaTour, a survivor of invasive breast cancer, a public speaker in the survivor community and the author of a book, “The Breast Cancer Companion,” published in 1993.
The Extraordinary Healer celebration was sponsored by pharmaceutical companies Amgen, Takeda Oncology and Bristol-Myers Squibb, whose Ready. Raise. Rise
campaign to raise awareness about immuno-oncology has featured participation by Stonestreet.
Since the inception of the Extraordinary Healer Award for Oncology Nursing in 2007, more than 1,000 nurses have been nominated. The winners and essayists honored over the past nine years have included men and women, adults and children, representing a variety of cancer centers and hospitals in seven different states.
Nominated for Inspiring Contributions
A fellow nurse, Cera Stanford, RN, BSN, PHN, nominated Malestic, who works at Eisenhower Lucy Curci Cancer Center Rancho Mirage, California. Cera described Malestic’s joy at going to work every day and the calm that she and her patients bring each other.