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Extraordinary Healer Goes "Above and Beyond"

By Lauren M. Green
Cindi Cantril, RN, OCN

Cindi Cantril, RN, OCN and Rob Lowe

Each year in connection with the ONS Annual Congress, CURE magazine announces the winner of its Extraordinary Healer Award for Oncology Nursing, and the 2014 recipient Cindi Cantril, RN, OCN, was honored not only for the outstanding care she provides to individual patients with breast cancer, but also for going above and beyond to forge a number of programs to support other patients living with cancer.

Cantril, who works at Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation in Santa Rosa, California, was nominated by Ann Taliman, a breast cancer survivor and colleague who detailed the many ways that Cantril cared for her during her diagnosis, surgery, and treatment. Beyond this, however, Cantril has developed a peer-to-peer support program called WINGS—Women Inspiring, Nurturing, Giving, Supporting—in which volunteer survivors are paired with newly-diagnosed women. The program has been so successful that it has been expanded to help women with other types of cancer, not just breast cancer. A men’s group—called WINGMEN—has also grown from Cantril’s efforts. Cantril is currently developing an equine therapy program for patients to work with the healing power of horses.

In addition to Cantril, two other pairs of nurse finalists and essayists were honored at the reception. Noelle Paul, RN, OCN, CAPA, from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, was nominated by caregiver Mary Kay Morelli of Sparta, New Jersey, and Anne Todd, RN, OCN, from Indiana University Health Southern Indiana Physicians, was nominated by caregiver Chuck Wilson of Bloomington. All three nurse finalists were chosen based on an essay contest, which asked cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers from across the country to nominate oncology nurses who demonstrate exceptional compassion, expertise, and commitment in their patients’ fight against cancer.

“This year’s finalists represent a very diverse group of writers and nurses, but the common link between them is the fact that each story details very different ways that all three nurses went above and beyond to make a tremendous impact on the lives of their patients,” said Kathy LaTour, cancer survivor and editor-at-large of CURE.

The event featured actor, producer, director, and author Rob Lowe, who spoke to the crowd of more than 750 individuals about his family’s experiences with cancer. The award, now in its eighth year, is made possible through financial support from Amgen Oncology's Breakaway from Cancer and Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company.

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