Thursday, June 23, 2011

$20,500 Gift Helps Makeover Norfolk Cancer Care "Kemo Living Room"

Submitted by Jennifer Kovalich, communications manager, Good Samaritan Medical Center
BROCKTON--Encircling the ring finger on Bill Nichols’right hand is a gold band set with two sparkling diamonds.
The ring was a gift from his wife, Ellen, and made from jewelry that had belonged to his late sister, Carol Nichols of Braintree.
On June 7, Bill Nichols, his mother, Mary, other family members and friends gathered at the Norfolk Cancer Care Center at 1073 Pleasant St. bringing with them another precious gift: a check for more than $20,500 for Dr. Satinder Dhillon, an oncologist and hematologist who had treated Carol Nichols after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004.
“They were like kids together, laughing all the time,” Bill Nichols, of Holbrook, said of his sister and her physician. “Dr. Dhillon kept my sister alive for a very long time.”
Carol Nichols’ bequest to her physician, who is affiliated with Good Samaritan Medical Center, will benefit other cancer patients.
“Her generous donation to the clinic came as a very big surprise,” Dr. Dhillon said at the check presentation.
Dr. Dhillon plans to renovate the clinic’s chemotherapy infusion room to add a living room and create a home-like environment where patients can be more comfortable during their hours-long treatment.
She plans to call it a “Kemo Living Room” and envisions a place where patients can sit and relax, play cards, socialize with other patients “and have a few laughs.”
“That would make it a fitting way to seal Carol’s memory in our hearts and in our clinic forever,” Dr. Dhillion said.
When she met Carol Nichols, Dr. Dhillon says she was struck by the calm demeanor in which Nichols received her diagnosis and four years later, the grace with which she faced the possibility of an unfavorable outcome with her disease after a relapse. But, she said, Nichols never lost her zest for life, her sense of humor or her will to fight to the end.
“She made me realize that we are born to celebrate life both in sickness and in health, and that every day we live is not just another day; it’s another day we get to celebrate life,” Dr. Dhillon said.
In that spirit, Dr. Dhillon’s practice looks for the opportunities to celebrate life’s moments with patients.
Earlier this year they held a Mardi Gras party and had an Easter bonnet parade. This month the center also threw a surprise 50th wedding anniversary party for another patient, transporting her vicariously to Paris through decorations, song and food, including cookies decorated like the Eiffel Tower.
During her lifetime, Carol Nichols worked as an administrative assistant and traveled the world for her job, oftentimes meeting foreign presidents and premiers.
“She was the right-hand man to every person she worked for,” her mother, Mary Nichols, of Braintree, said. “She was a smart girl. She could do anything,” she said.
Other family and friends at the check presentation, including her godmother, Mary DiRado, of Rockland, described a woman who sparkled and was “a sweetheart.”
Karen Martinson, of Rockland, met Carol Nichols at the Norfolk Center for Cancer Care when she, too, was undergoing cancer treatment.
The women bonded quickly and together with another patient, became known as the “Chemolicious Trio” drawing support and encouragement from each other.
“I miss her terribly,” Martinson said.
Other family who joined in the check presentation were Carol’s aunt, Regina Giordani, of Norwell, and John and Mufalda Ventresca, of Quincy.
Carol Nichols was a 1972 graduate of Braintree High School and an alumna of Aquinas College. She died on her 55th birthday, Dec. 20, 2009.
During her illness, Carol and her brother began talking about her plans to leave a lasting gift to Dr. Dhillon and her practice.
“Everybody here is just ecstatic that Carol thought so much of Dr. Dhillon and what she’s trying to do,” Bill Nichols said. “She’s trying to show people that it’s not about coming in here for chemo treatments. It’s about life.”
PHOTO ABOVE: Pictured from left to right are: Regina Giordani, Mary Nichols, Dr. Satinder Dhillon, Bill Nichols, Muffy Ventresca, John Ventresca, Mary DiRado and Karen Martinson.
Photo courtesy Phil Saviano

No comments:

Post a Comment