Our Nurse of the Week is oncology nurse practitioner Karen Pekle who opened her home up to cancer patient Olivia Chin who was in need of lifesaving treatments at Weill Cornell Myeloma Center in New York City, more than four hours from her home in upstate New York.
Chin was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a particularly deadly form of cancer, in 2009, and told she had 12 to 18 months to live. She didn’t meet Pekle until 2011, who on the same day they met welcomed Chin to stay in her Upper East Side home during treatments. Pekle also sat with Chin after an emergency hospitalization when Chin’s husband and two children were stuck at home.
Chin never took Pekle up on her offer thanks to a partnership between Extended Stay America and the American Cancer Society which gives cancer patients and their caregivers free lodging during treatments as part of a program called Hotel Keys of Hope. However, Chin never forgot the gracious offer and honored Pekle for going the extra mile by nominating her for Nurse of the Year through the American Cancer Society’s nationwide competition for 2017. Pekle was named Nurse of the Year this June, the first time the American Cancer Society honored an oncology nurse.
“We always talk about the [cancer] survivors, but we knew it was time to honor caregivers, especially the nurses who are with patients every step of the way.”
Pekle told The New York Post, “I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. I probably said something like, ‘I have a couch you can use.’ But I would have given her the bed.” But it was a huge deal to Chin, who eight years after her diagnosis is continuing to beat the odds thanks to dedicated nurses like Pekle. Amanda Kent, social-media coordinator for Extended Stay America, told The Post, “We always talk about the [cancer] survivors, but we knew it was time to honor caregivers, especially the nurses who are with patients every step of the way.”
To learn more about Pekle’s nursing background and relationship with Chin, visit here.
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