Caring LPN Honored for Extreme Compassion
Whether donating a kidney to a friend's husband or handcrafting blankets with inspirational messages for the sick and discouraged, Margaret Stewart, LPN, a nurse at Barberton Hospital in Barberton, Ohio, takes it upon herself to provide comfort and care.
For her constant acts of selflessness, Stewart is one of only 10 people nationwide to receive the prestigious Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award 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.
Her colleague and friend, Kathy Fletcher, who has experienced Stewart's dedication firsthand, nominated Stewart for the Cherokee Inspired Comfort Award. When Fletcher's husband fell ill with renal failure, Stewart did something only a truly loving person would do – she contacted a transplant coordinator and had herself tested as a possible donor. She was a match and donated her kidney. The transplant resulted in an amazing recovery for Fletcher's husband, and his health improved exponentially. For Stewart, however, complications arose, and she was unable to return to nursing for 13 months. Fletcher expressed,"Maggie Stewart is truly the essence of courage, strength, goodness, kindness and selfless giving."
"Any career has its perks and its negatives, but if what you are looking for is to make a difference in the world, nursing is the career for you."
While recovering from the transplant, Stewart initiated what she likes to call"comfort blankets." She makes each and every blanket by hand, embroiders them with a spiritual message and personally delivers them to people who are going through a rough time. Most of the people who receive these blankets are seriously ill, and the blankets help to lift their spirits. To this day, she gets requests for her comfort blankets from places as far away as Florida, and she has never turned down a request.
"Precious moments and lasting friendships are reason enough to choose a career in nursing," expresses Stewart. "I love the people; I love caring for them and making a difference in their lives."
As a Top National Winner in the award's LPN/LVN category, Stewart receives an all-expense-paid trip to a 2008 medical conference of her choice, annual membership to her preferred clinical association, a $500 donation to her preferred nonprofit organization, 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.