Patrice is a Breast Nurse Navigator for Advocate Christ Medical Center Cancer Institute in Illinois and one of our Partnership Coordinators. Christ Medical Center is a member of our Partnership Program and is honored to be the recipient of a corporate donation from LabCorp to be able to pass along Hope Scarves to women in treatment.
How did you get connected with Hope Scarves?
It was several years ago that I was given about 5 Hope Scarves from a friend named Kristy, who had met Lara, the founder of Hope scarves, on a plane. Lara gave Kristy the scarves to pass along to me. I gave the scarves to patients, and since then have been telling patients about Hope scarves. It’s such a small world!
Last October, the Hope scarves organization contacted us here at Christ Medical Center regarding their Partnership program. LabCorp, a corporate sponsor, chose us as the recipient of their donation to be able to pass along Hope Scarves to women undergoing cancer treatment at our facility.
How has the program enhanced the way you support patients?
The scarves are a wonderful way to lift up a patient’s spirit when I meet with them after surgery. They feel special, as they open the scarf, read about the person who shared it with them, and their story. They love being a part of the “Sisterhood of the traveling scarves” and are so thankful to receive such a meaningful gift.
Is there a special story you would like to share about giving a hope scarf to a patient?
I think my favorite story about Hope Scarves includes the day in October when the staff from Hope Scarves brought the scarves to us. On the afternoon before they were coming, I reached out to Brenda, a patient that was going to start her chemotherapy the following week. I asked her to come and accept the first hope scarf from the staff, that would be here the next day. She said yes, early voting could wait! Brenda was so gracious and excited as she picked her “special scarf”. She wore that scarf to every treatment and we still talk frequently, long after completion of her therapy. The scarf is very special to her, and we have a special bond because of Hope scarves.
Do you have any tips for other nurse navigators about how to make the Hope Scarves program a success?
I have incorporated the process of giving a Hope Scarf along with other resources and support items to each patient I meet. I sit and share the story of how Hope Scarves started, with Lara passing along her scarf to another patient, and I always help them open the scarf, which shares the name and a little story about the person who donated the scarf. This is always very moving, and the patient and her family “ooh and ahh” over how pretty it is. Our nurses in the Infusion Center also have a supply of scarves to present to their patients.
How did you decide to work in oncology?
Within my first year of becoming a nurse and working on a medical unit here at Christ Medical Center, our unit was transitioned to an Oncology Unit. That was back in 1980-1981, and I loved working with our patients. I knew back then I had found my niche, and it became my passion. For the past 20 years, I have been working with all breast cancer patients. I find working with them so rewarding, such meaningful work, and it is truly my passion.
When not helping people face cancer – what do you like to do for fun?
I love to travel, so in my free time that’s what you’ll find me doing. My family and friends are always asking me “When’s your next trip? Where are you going now? I am fortunate to have great family and friends that love to travel, too. I like to read, so time off and traveling is when I get to fit that in, as well. I also love to entertain, love to have parties to gather my family and friends together!
Do you have a favorite inspirational quote?
“People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway”.
If your friends or family had to describe you in a couple words, what would they say?
I think they would say I’m too sensitive, and I hope they would say I’m kind, caring and compassionate.
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