2005 Lane Adams Quality of Life Award Recipients
Road to Recovery, Franklin, Tennessee
As a volunteer coordinator of the Society’s Road to Recovery program in Nashville, Ray is known for his caring and commitment to providing patients and their families with transportation to cancer treatment. Ray can relate to patients and their families and quickly gains their trust and respect. One Road to Recovery volunteer driver describes Ray: “His dedication, in my opinion, is the result of a big heart and a true love for people.” Ray has been the driving force behind the Nashville Road to Recovery program. He recruited most of the 70 volunteer drivers himself. One patient faced with extensive travel to cancer treatment said this about Ray: “He was the one who pulled it all together for me…Ray’s expertise in planning, coordinating, and encouraging made a difficult time in my life easier and even possible. I stand in amazement at his degree of caring for patients.”
Constantino Bennedetti, MD
Ohio State University Medical Center, Arthur G. James Cancer Center, Columbus, Ohio
Dr. Constantino Benedetti directs the cancer pain and palliative medicine program for the James Cancer Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. He is also a professor of anesthesiology, director of the pain and palliative medicine fellowship program, and an active long-term volunteer for the Society. Dr. Benedetti has hosted two national pain and palliative care conferences, created the American Cancer Society Arthur G. James Pain and Palliative Medicine Fellowship Program, and developed and taught a palliative medicine curriculum for medical students at The Ohio State University. Amid all those demanding responsibilities, Dr. Benedetti finds the energy to bring not only professional, but also personal, excellence to his service to cancer patients and their families. A colleague writes, “He is consistently compassionate, caring, and very attentive to his patient’s needs, providing high-quality and timely care.” And letter after letter from grateful patients and their families bear out this fond assessment.
Lois Doane, RN, MSN,AOCN
University of Tennessee Medical Center, Knoxville, Tennessee
Lois Doane is an oncology clinical nurse specialist responsible for ensuring that patients receive the highest quality care. She works directly with patients and their families, educates her fellow nurses, and develops and maintains standards of oncology care for the institution. She is sought after by nursing associations as a renowned speaker, and her groundbreaking research in the field of patient-controlled analgesia convinced other health care providers that PCA is a safe, effective approach and helped make it common practice. As a Society volunteer, she is responsible for implementing community-based support groups for prostate cancer survivors, laryngectomy patients, and children with cancer and their families. She managed one of the first I Can Cope® programs in Tennessee; served as a camp counselor at a Society childhood cancer camp; chairs Relay For Life activities; launched a Road to Recovery program in Knox County; and served on the Mid-South Division’s Board of Directors.
Bernadette “Bunny” Dugan, RN, CHPN
Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
As a hospice nurse at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, Bernadette Dugan, known affectionately as “Bunny,” has one of the most challenging jobs imaginable – providing palliative care for terminally-ill oncology patients. After more than 25 years as a nurse, Bunny is known and loved for her compassion, professionalism, and genuine care for patients. Bunny’s deep faith and unwavering belief in the potential for growth at the end of life have brought comfort to countless families facing the final stages of cancer. One family member of a patient in Bunny’s care put it this way: “She was a shoulder to lean on, an oracle of information, and the crutch that we needed.” She believes in maximizing the dignity of her patients – patients who often face terrible circumstances. Bunny’s patients quickly form a bond of trust with her, thanks to her unique ability to lend an empathetic and experienced ear.
Richard L. Fabian,
Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, Massachusetts
“During my cancer treatment, my sensitivity, awareness, and anxiety were all heightened,” writes one patient. “Small things take on enormous proportions. A kind word, a gentle touch, a sympathetic ear, or a smile all have incredible healing and comforting powers. My years with Dr. Fabian have been marked by many of these healing and comforting events.” One patient of his, a radio and television announcer for nearly four decades, underwent a total laryngectomy. Richard’s reassuring manner and continual encouragement inspired this gentleman to resume his career and to help others. He speaks to children about the dangers of smoking, serves as an officer of the Laryngectomee Association, and was the driving force behind a new video to instruct patients about the voice options after laryngectomee.
Jeffrey Forman, MD, FACR
Weisberg Cancer Treatment Center, Farmington Hills, Michigan
Jeffrey Forman, MD, FACR is chairman of radiation oncology for the Wayne State University School of Medicine and medical director of the Weisberg Cancer Treatment Center. But none of those professional achievements say as much about Dr. Jeffrey Forman as the simple eloquence of one of his patients: “All of his patients are treated in the same manner,” she writes. “No special treatment to a select few; special treatment to all.” His patients describe him as compassionate and sensitive…optimistic and reassuring…innovative and vigilant… knowledgeable and committed. In short, they paint the portrait of a doctor who is all that a medical professional should be. This deep level of empathy and genuine affection for cancer patients and their families motivated Jeffrey to rethink how medical facilities care for patients and to pioneer a cancer center devoted to comprehensive care for the “whole person,” as well as that person’s loved ones. He is so loved by his patients that they helped him raise more than 10 million dollars to open a new cancer center that he personally designed – with guidance, of course, from the people whose needs are most important: his patients, their families, cancer volunteers, social workers, and experienced health care colleagues.
Diane Hopkins, RN, MA, OCN
Counselor/Consultant, Staten Island, New York
Diane Hopkins is a nurse and counselor by training, but she is so much more to the hundreds of people who have benefited from her optimism, energy, and wisdom. As the volunteer facilitator for the Society’s Make Today Count support group, and through her private practice, she reaches out to people in distress and sees them through their illness and recovery. To ensure this high quality of life, she takes the focus off the patient’s disease. Instead, Diane encourages patients to focus on how they deal with the cancer…on coping techniques for managing the stress of diagnosis and treatment…and on learning concrete ways to care for themselves physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. One patient summed it up this way: “Contact with Diane can best be described as holding your guardian angel’s hand. It won’t change the outcome, but it can help you handle that outcome, whatever it may be.”
Founder, Helen's Room, Playa del Rey, California
Monica Kahn developed Helen’s Room to meet the needs of women affected by cancer treatment. But her program has done so much more than that. It has given women hope that they can live normal, fulfilling lives in the face of cancer. Monica has worked tirelessly in the Helen’s Room program since 1998. The program is run in cooperation with the American Cancer Society and was inspired by Monica’s childhood friend, Helen, who lost her life to cancer as a young woman. Monica designed the program to provide underserved women with a safe haven for information, support, and practical tips to ease the physical side effects of cancer treatment. With just a few volunteers, she has served 500 indigent cancer patients, primarily Hispanic and African American women. Monica is dedicated to making each woman at Helen’s Room feel special. She exhibits a unique kindness, warmth, and compassion. Cancer patients receive one-on-one support, a free turban, scarf, wig-liner, hat, and literature about cancer treatment and community resources.
Pat Lehr, RN
Victory Memorial Hospital, Waukeegan, Illinois
Pat Lehr brings more than 40 years of personal and professional excellence to her work as a care manager for Vista Health and as a 20-year volunteer with the Society. She is a registered nurse who has dedicated her life and her considerable talent to fighting cancer and reducing the suffering it brings to patients and their loved ones. Pat has founded successful support groups while remaining deeply committed to the Society’s Reach to Recovery program, and to raising awareness of breast cancer prevention and early detection. She also is active in Relay For Life, especially in celebrating survivors. Many of the patient care tenets we embrace today were unheard of when Pat began her career. She was among the first in her community to recognize disparities in the cancer burden and to develop programs to reach out to the medically underserved. And she literally wrote the book on supporting cancer patients and their families; her memoir, Irish Stew, recounts the lessons she learned from working with these special people. Pat is on call to her patients and their loved ones 24 hours a day, seven days a week. One former patient talks of Pat’s tireless devotion to her calling. “Pat is never finished after eight hours at the hospital,” he writes. Her friendship and support have seen hundreds of people through to recovery … and have helped hundreds more face death with dignity and peace.
Lucille A. Leong, MD
City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, California
Dr. Lucille Leong is associate director of clinical affairs for the City of Hope National Medical Center. A medical oncologist, she brings an exemplary level of warmth, humility, and compassion to her daily practice. What makes her patients relate to her in such a personal way? Perhaps it’s how patient she is with anxious patients and their families…or that she listens to them, even when her schedule demands otherwise. Maybe it’s the sincere empathy that prompts her to call a patient at home to see how she’s feeling after her first treatment Lucille has been a member of the California Division’s San Gabriel Unit Board since 1991 and is currently serving her second term as president of its executive council. She has also chaired the Breast Health Initiative Team, lending her considerable expertise to effective breast cancer awareness campaigns throughout Los Angeles County. Dr. Leong knows all too well the value of friendship and encouragement to newly diagnosed cancer patients. That’s why she was so supportive of her patient Linda Johnson’s efforts to build a Reach to Recovery ® program at City of Hope. Linda says, “Everyone else kind of looked away, or mumbled about privacy issues and changed the subject. Dr. Leong wrote down names and phone numbers of people I could contact.” City of Hope now has a Reach program that connects newly diagnosed breast cancer patients with a survivor to find hope, courage, and friendship in each other’s experiences.
Jennifer Maggiore, MSW, LCSW
First Coast Oncology, Mandarin, Florida
As an oncology social worker at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Jacksonville, Florida, Jennifer Maggiore is known as a tenacious patient advocate who goes the extra mile. Jennifer covers the adult inpatient oncology unit and outpatient radiation clinic at St. Vincent’s. She is in frequent contact with patients who have little or no health insurance. Jennifer has searched for treatment options for uninsured patients who are having trouble getting the medications they need. While caring for a mother facing terminal breast cancer, Jennifer watched the mother worry about being unable to contact her eight-year-old son’s grandparents, whom she wanted to take care of him. Jennifer not only tracked down the grandparents, but also obtained legal counsel to secure emergency guardianship just before the mother died. The wife of one of her patients put it this way: “Had it not been for people like you, I don’t even know if my husband would have made it. We’ll never forget the interest you took in his emotional – as well as physical – health, and the help you arranged.”
Palm Harbor, Florida
Rainess-Jordan is a senior social worker at the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center in Baltimore, where she provides for the psychological, social, and practical needs of patients and their families at all stages of disease and treatment. Her attention to the needs of family caregivers in particular was evident early in her career. She developed a plan so caregivers could get support online to enhance their ability to provide expert support at home. She also saw a need for women facing infertility issues relating to their cancer and developed a support group to help. Alice consistently shows a deep commitment in the difficult area of end-of-life care. She was concerned about limited resources in her community for patients with metastatic cancer. Her solution was to join with her colleagues in creating a new support group for these patients. Once, when faced with a dying patient refusing to enter a hospice, Alice found herself counseling the family over the phone in an emergency session. The patient was dying at home and no one knew quite what to do. Alice provided comfort and strength to the family on one phone while calling a local hospice on another. She stayed on the line with the grieving family until the hospice arrived.
Dawn Tiedeman, RN, APRN, AOCN, MSN
West Haven VA Medical Center, West Haven, Connecticut
Dawn Tiedmann is a clinical nurse specialist in oncology for the West Haven V.A. Medical Center. For more than 22 years, she has been responsible for assessment, planning, therapeutic interventions, patient teaching, and follow-up with patients and their loved ones. For much of that time, she has also been deeply committed to the American Cancer Society, serving as a member of its nursing committee and its patient and family services committee, chairing Relay For Life events, and sharing her professional expertise with other health care providers at national conferences. In addition to being an exceptional clinician, she is a staunch patient advocate. Her colleagues rely on her wisdom and experience, and her patients depend on her kindness and commitment. When a colleague’s father was diagnosed with cancer, she and her family experienced Dawn’s special brand of care. Dawn taught her colleague to administer care and treatment for her father in the comfort of his own home. His daughter says, “He continued to have periodic visits to the clinic to see the oncologist, but it was Dawn who arranged all of his transfusions and biopsies. It was Dawn he always looked forward to seeing at his next visit. It is Dawn to whom I am eternally grateful for giving me the opportunity to provide the best care possible for someone I loved dearly.”
Robin Yoder, MSW
Hawthorne Cancer Center, Chippenheim & Johnston - Willis Medical Center, Midlothian, Virginia
Robin Yoder is an oncology clinical social worker and the director of the Hawthorne Cancer Resource Center at Chippenham & Johnston-Willis Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia. She wears many hats, including managing the various support groups provided for patients and their families, and overseeing more than 40 volunteers who staff the Hawthorne Center. The Hawthorne Center, by the way, was Robin’s brainchild. She wanted a place with an open, comfortable atmosphere, and was instrumental in designing the facility. Robin’s commitment to her patients often inspires them to become advocates for themselves. She is able to draw patients out of their shells, taking them from depression to determination. One man facing prostate cancer summed up his experience in a support group led by Robin this way: “Robin has helped guide us out of the darkness of our own attitudes and fearful perceptions that we harbor within ourselves…She’s helped me to not focus on what’s happened to me or on what I don’t have, but to make use of what I do have.” A woman fighting breast cancer remembers how Robin taught her to live with it: “Through her guidance, I came to realize that I could learn to live with my diagnosis and not have my diagnosis live my life…Not only did Robin help me focus on my personal feelings, she helped my family find a way to begin to heal as well.”