Winnie McKenzie
May 2023
Infusion Procedural Center
UVA Health
United States




What stands out most about Winnie, though, is her great compassion. She has consistently taken the time to get to know me as more than just a cancer patient.
I'll never forget the first time I entered the Infusion Center at the Emily Couric Cancer Center. I sat in the busy waiting room and felt overwhelmed with fear. Eight days earlier I had learned that I had cancer. And there I was suddenly waiting to start chemotherapy. Chemo . . . I honestly wasn't sure which was scarier to me, the cancer or the cure. The fear stopped for a moment as I watched a nurse come out and start talking to a patient waiting near me. It was clear as she sat and touched the woman's arm that this nurse knew and cared for this patient. I remember hoping that I would have someone who would similarly know and care about me as I began this process. I was thrilled when, the next time the nurse appeared, it was to call my name. Since then, Winnie McKenzie has been with me at every step of this chemo journey. I honestly don't know how I would have made it through this process without Winnie's professionalism and compassion.

The first thing that I noticed about Winnie was her great knowledge. It was immediately clear to me that she was an experienced professional. I was so grateful for the way that she would explain procedures and make time to answer my questions. She talked to me about my specific chemo regime, possible drug allergies, and side effects. When the results of my initial bloodwork came back, she printed them up and explained each category so that I could understand. After it was recommended that I have a port put in, Winnie brought in a port and explained to me how it would work and what the placement would entail. I have come to trust and rely on Winnie as an invaluable part of my healthcare team. The knowledge and experience that she has shared with me have made each step of this process easier.

What stands out most about Winnie, though, is her great compassion. She has consistently taken the time to get to know me as more than just a cancer patient. She remembers my pets' names, the day I went back to work, and the friends who have come with me to chemo. She asks follow-up questions about what's going on in my life, beyond just my cancer journey. As a result, I have come to think of Winnie not as my chemo nurse, but as my friend. Like a friend, she has been there with me through even the most difficult steps of this journey. She put her arm around me and listened as I processed the disappointing news that what I thought was going to be my last chemo session would, in fact, be followed by another course of chemo. She held my hand as I cried when there was a sudden spike in my cancer markers. And she cheered with me when those numbers came back down. Through the ups and downs of the chemotherapy process, Winnie has always made me feel known and cared for.

I am so grateful for the exceptional care that I have received from Winnie McKenzie. Winnie has been a guide, a friend, and a genuine blessing during what has been a difficult time in my life. I can think of no one more deserving of a DAISY Award.