A few months ago I was surprised and a little confused when I opened an e-mail from a woman who works for CURE Magazine. CURE is a an award-winning publication for cancer patients, caregivers, and survivors and every year they have a special edition that is released known as the Extraordinary Healers Awards Edition. This special edition honors and recognizes oncology nurses who go above and beyond for their patients and truly make the world a better place. They are a beam of light during a very dark time in a person's life.
After briefly looking at the headline, I was thinking what could she possibly be contacting me for.... Surely this was by accident.
Little did I know that it would lead to one of the most rewarding and humbling photographic experiences I have had in a long time. I was asked to photograph one of their chosen Extraordinary Healers for the special edition release.... and she was right here in my county.
Not only did I get to meet her (Jackie), but I also met her nominator (LaVerne)- a cancer survivor and a Paramedic Instructor Coordinator. Spending time with the two of them was an emotional roller coaster as they talked to me about their journey from the diagnosis, the treatments, a death scare, and finally a happier ending.
Jackie, being the humble and amazing woman that she is, of course feels that her entire department is deserving of the award and I couldn't agree more. The work that they do is ... well it seems impossible, incredible, overwhelming, and extraordinary all in one. I can see why LaVerne chose to honor Jackie though. She has a warm and giving personality and is beyond dedicated. As we were going through their story and walking around for photographs, Jackie was taking little side trips to check on her patients. As if a career as a nurse doesn't keep her busy enough, she also helped LaVerne start a much-needed cancer patient support group here in Iron County.
So I will leave you with this last thought and request - Thank a nurse when you see one. Tell them you appreciate them. No they are not in this job for the recognition ... but it doesn't mean they don't deserve it. They give up time with their families to save yours. I'd say that is extraordinary.
**** The CURE Extraordinary Healers Special Edition is now published! I received my copy in the mail not too long ago. Links to the book and essays are below!
You can find the essays on the healers here: http://www.curetoday.com/publications/extraordinary-healer/2016/extraordinary-healer2016
Here is LaVerne's essay: http://www.curetoday.com/publications/extraordinary-healer/2016/extraordinary-healer2016/finding-a-gem-in-the-midst-of-a-cancer-diagnosis