Joan Delk, RN - 2007 Inspired Comfort Award Winner

2007 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award Grand Prize Winner – RN Category

Award Story

RN Welcomes Foreign Cancer Patient Into Her Own Home for Treatment

Joan Delk, a registered nurse at the Moses Cone Regional Cancer Center, in Greensboro, NC, stops at nothing when it comes to making sure that a patient is receiving the best care possible – even if that means taking a patient into her own home. For the personal sacrifices and exceptional care that she provided to a cancer patient from Sudan, Delk has received the prestigious Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award. She is one of 10 honorees nationwide in 2007.

The award is granted annually by Cherokee Uniforms to recognize nurses and other non-physician healthcare professionals who demonstrate exceptional service, sacrifice and innovation and have a positive impact on others' lives. This is the 5th year the leading designer and manufacturer of healthcare apparel has honored inspirational caregivers. 

"Cancer patients demonstrate a lot of courage and endurance," says Delk."People dealing with cancer have a different perspective on life. Their priorities change with the new diagnosis and they can teach you a great deal about life and getting your priorities right."

"People dealing with cancer have a different perspective on life. Their priorities change with their new diagnosis and they can teach you a lot about life and getting your priorities right."

Delk became very attached to a female patient who had come to the United States from Sudan to receive treatment for Acute Leukemia. The woman had no family in the United States and was relying solely on Medicaid for transportation to and from the cancer center. At times, she would wait for hours after treatment before someone arrived to take her home.

Delk decided to take it upon herself to create a comfortable place for the patient to stay by inviting the woman into her own home. She spent countless hours outside of work setting up a bedroom and caring for her needs. Additionally, Delk worked with people at her church to arrange adequate transportation to and from the center for the woman.

When it was decided that the patient would need to undergo a bone marrow transplant, Delk worked tirelessly with the government to get the patient's brother to the United States. When he finally arrived, she tested him and found that he was a match for his sister. Delk also invited him into her home and, prior to the transplant, took them both to the beach to see the ocean for their first time. Although the woman didn't survive the treatments, Delk continued to assist the family by playing an instrumental role in planning her funeral and arranging for her body to be sent back to Sudan.

As a Grand Prize Winner in the award's Registered Nurse category, Delk receives an all-expense-paid Caribbean cruise for two, a crystal award and a wardrobe of Cherokee healthcare apparel. She also will appear in the nationally distributed Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award 2008 calendar.

Since the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award was established in 2003, more than 5,300 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 received in 2007, Cherokee Uniforms donated $1 to national health-centered charities. The total amount was divided equally among the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association and the Alzheimer's Association. Since 2005, Cherokee has donated over $3,300. 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 2008 Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award beginning March 1, 2008 through May 31, 2008.

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