You know those people that you meet and you think to yourself, "Wow I am so lucky to know someone like them. They are one of a kind". Well, our nurse is truly one of those people. She had spent the last 5 years working in nonprofit, traveling the country in pursuit of ensuring dignity and a sense of control for those battling cancer. We would like to recognize her for her selfless and inspiring work with her self-created, volunteer-based non-profit company, "Small Choices".
The Small Choices Foundation was founded by an Oncology Nurse after years of witnessing the devastating effects of a cancer diagnosis on both the patient and their caregivers. One of the most difficult results of being hospitalized is the lack of control over everyday decisions, so our goal is to empower patients by giving them the ability to choose from different programs including supportive items for themselves and their caregivers, isolation relief for those separated from loved ones, special request memory makers, and the opportunity to connect with others on similar paths, making the cancer journey a bit brighter.
With no paid employees and very little overhead expenses, our board members and volunteer staff have all been directly affected by cancer and bring their own experiences and expertise to the foundation to ensure we are offering the best possible services to those on the front lines.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has taken a toll on everyone, but the mental effects that it has had on our patients who spend months in the hospital are devastating. For several months this past year, our patients were not allowed to have visitors throughout their entire hospital stay. If you are unfamiliar with the care, it is physically and emotionally the hardest feat someone will go through in their life.
She created an "Isolation Relief Program" within Small Choices for patients that will spend more than 10 consecutive days in the hospital without a caregiver. Each patient/caregiver team selects items that have been chosen by other survivors and caregivers from the Small Choices online store to help make the inpatient stay and ongoing cancer journey a journey that includes some control and choice for the patient. Along with her volunteers, also offer to bring the patients a weekly meal of their choice, wash their laundry, provide handmade items such as a cozy blanket and provide a support community for the patients to be a part of.
She continues to work full-time in the clinic and volunteers her free time to ensure our patients never feel alone. If this doesn't already seem like two full-time jobs, she also has four kids, a husband, and two dogs to care for at home.
I truly believe that there are some people in this world who just make it a better place, and if they happen to cross your path, you will forever be a better person because of them. I know we are not alone when I say that Kate is one of those people.