2006 Inspired Comfort Award Grand Prize Winner — Student Nurse Category
Tennessee Nursing Student Defies the Odds to Achieve Her Dream
At the young age of 15, Shelia Gholston provided care to her father as he succumbed to lung cancer. She knew then that she was destined to become a nurse. However, she would spend the next several years overcoming unfathomable adversity to achieve her dream, from a continuing fight against a rare form of cancer to losing everything in a house fire. Gholston persevered, and this past summer she received her nursing pin. For her unrelenting dedication to the field of nursing, this Crossville, Tenn., resident has received the prestigious Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award, one of only 11 honorees nationwide in 2006.
The award is granted annually by Cherokee Uniforms - a leading designer and manufacturer of healthcare apparel - to recognize nurses and other non-physician healthcare professionals who demonstrate exceptional service, sacrifice and innovation and have a positive impact on others' lives.
At the age of 36, Gholston was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer of the adrenal glands. Consequently, she had surgery to remove cancer in her breasts, abdomen, chest, throat and tonsils. Throughout her battle, the single mother worked two, and sometimes three, jobs at a time in order to remain on health insurance and provide for her son. With less than a 50-percent chance of survival, Gholston beat the odds and regained her health, and began nursing school.
“A good nurse does not limit what they will do for the patient and family. It is much more than giving meds, and to realize that is to realize your role and its importance. Excellent nursing care equals patient compliance, quicker recovery time and a shorter hospital stay.”
- Shelia Gholston
"Shelia intrigued me from the very beginning when I overheard her discussing her two-hour commute to and from class," says Tennessee Technology Center teacher Gregory F. Sherrill, who nominated Gholston for the award. "I admire her sheer determination in overcoming adversity and achieving her dream of becoming a nurse."
Gholston has been a model student in her program and a mentor to her peers. She has received high praises for providing excellent care and for her positive demeanor and exceptional abilities. It was Gholston's motivation and positive attitude that influenced a hospital's staff to ask her to work with families whose loved ones suffered from cancer - this prior to her graduation. Now an oncology nurse, she comforts families and patients every day, imparting the same hope that has powered her strength throughout her life.
As a Grand Prize Winner in the award's Student Nurse Category, Gholston receives an all-expense-paid Caribbean cruise for two, a crystal award, a wardrobe of Cherokee healthcare apparel and appears in the nationally distributed Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award 2007 calendar.
Since the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award was established in 2003, more than 4,200 healthcare professionals have been nominated in the Registered Nurse, Advanced Practice Nurse, Licensed Practical Nurse/Licensed Vocational Nurse, Student Nurse and Non-Physician Healthcare Professional categories. A panel of nursing professionals and Cherokee representatives evaluates nominations and grants the awards.
For every nomination, Cherokee Uniforms donated $1 to Nurses House, a national fund that provides short-term financial assistance to registered nurses facing serious hardship. Since 2005, Cherokee has donated $2,200. Proceeds from Cherokee Uniforms products support healthcare professionals through initiatives such as the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award, an annual calendar and the A Nurse I Am Film and Scholarship Program. Cherokee Uniforms will be accepting nominations for the 2007 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award beginning March 1, 2007 through May 31, 2007.