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FINALISTS: Vote for the Outstanding Nurse Award

It's time to vote on our finalists for the June Breit and Jocelyn Farrar Outstanding Nurse Award! You will find below a list of extraordinary nurses who have been nominated by members of the meso community. We encourage you to read through each brief biography to learn about all of these wonderful nurses before submitting your vote!

We would like to thank everyone in our community for taking the time to nominate their nurses, and we would especially like to thank all of the nurses nominated for their continuing passion and caring efforts in their profession!

***Voting has now concluded. Please stay tuned for the big announcement. If you're not on our mailing list, please click here.***


Liz Darlison has been working as a nurse for nearly 31 years. Liz trained at Charles Frears School of Nursing in Leicester qualifying in 1986. Liz’s interests within lung cancer have always focused on developing the nursing contribution, within the multidisciplinary team, to improve patient and carer experience across the whole cancer pathway. To meet demand locally and nationally, Liz developed an interest in mesothelioma, which resulted in the establishment of Mesothelioma UK, the National Macmillan Mesothelioma Resource Centre. Liz is currently a Consultant Nurse and clinical lead for Mesothelioma UK which has established itself as an essential part of the UK Mesothelioma landscape; a center of excellence providing mesothelioma information, support and education. In 2007, Liz was awarded the Nursing Times Cancer Nurse Leader of the Year Award sponsored by the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and in 2012, a 10 Year Achievement Award from the British Thoracic Oncology Group for Major Impact on Lung Cancer Patient Care and a Macmillan Cancer Support Henry Garnett award for exceptional contribution as a Macmillan Professional. Liz is an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the DeMontfort University, Leicester and Associate Lecturer at the Royal Marsden School of Cancer Nursing and Rehabilitation. Liz has served 10 years as a committee member (2 years as chair) for the National Lung Cancer Forum for Nurses (NLCFN), whilst chairing the NLCFN she established a Research Interest Group (RIG) that included an annual research grant opportunity for members. The RIG group has recently been awarded its first national research grant for a study the NLCFN are completing. Liz is a current member of the British Thoracic Oncology Group steering committee, which at the outset required her to establish the Nursing Research Workshop held at the annual conference each year, where nursing delegates now number over 100, approximately 20% of the total attendees. Liz is a member of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer Membership Committee, Nurses and Allied Professionals Committee and World Conference on Lung Cancer core Program Committee. Liz is also proud to be a founding member of the International Thoracic Oncology Nursing Forum, which held its inaugural meeting in 2011. In 2010, in partnership with colleagues at the Royal Marsden School of Cancer Nursing and Rehabilitation, Liz launched an international on-line accredited (level 6 and 7) Mesothelioma Care in Practice course that in 2011 came 1st in a national Excellence in Oncology Awards educational category. Liz has individually and jointly authored a number of publications about lung cancer and mesothelioma and gives up to 25 lectures a year at regional, national and international meetings. When asked what she enjoys most about being a nurse, Liz stated, “I feel so fortunate to have developed skills and expertise that can help people when they are feeling at their most vulnerable. I consider it a privilege to be ‘with people’ during their most troubled times.”


Yvonne Mallory has been a nurse since May 1991, making this her 24th year in her profession. Yvonne received her BSN in nursing in 1991 at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), in Washington, D.C. She began as a student nurse working at the Bethesda Naval Hospital from 1989-1991. She then graduated and became a clinical nurse on the same oncology unit until 2000. From there, she accepted a clinical research nurse position in the outpatient infusion center until 2007. From 2007 until 2009, Yvonne worked as a clinical research nurse in the outpatient clinic. In 2009, she accepted her current position as a research nurse specialist position with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the National Cancer Institute (NCI). She works with Dr. Raffit Hassan, who specializes in protocols for patients with mesothelioma. When asked what she enjoys most about being a nurse, Yvonne stated, “I personally like working closely with the patient and family to ensure that they understand their disease, the treatment options available and that they understand the protocols and what to expect.”


Rosalba Martignetti has been a nurse since 1998. Upon graduation from Laboure’ College in 1998, her nursing career evolved from psych nursing to oncology. It was oncology nursing that gave Rosalba the chance to really get involved with patients. She began on an inpatient unit where she honed her skills tending to the care of patients requiring chemotherapy, symptom management, palliative care and hospice care. Rosalba continued on the become chemo certified and then an oncology certified nurse. From there, she transitioned to an outpatient unit at MGH. Her practice consists of administering chemotherapy as well as providing emotional support, becoming involved in assisting with psychosocial issues, managing symptoms of disease and treatment and oncologic emergencies. Rosalba stated, “Care extends beyond the outpatient setting, since as oncology nurses, we are invited into our patients’ lives. Relationships are established with patients and their families. It is not only care of the oncology patient, but the family as well. We continue to support our patients and their families through hospital admissions and, at times, even visit at home to be a presence and testament to their fight, from diagnosis to survivorship and sometimes even during hospice care.” When asked what she enjoys most about being a nurse, Rosalba stated, “Oncology nursing is a specialty that offers a privilege. When the door to a patient-nurse relationship is opened, it is more than caring for the patient’s medical needs, but an acceptance of the invitation to share the journey of each patient we meet, and often their families as well. This honor, to care for someone on a multitude of levels is how I know that oncology is the place for me. Nothing is more beautiful than becoming a part of the tapestry of one's life and being allowed to enter on an intimate level as they travel through their life's journey. I have learned over the years that you cannot measure your effectiveness as a nurse purely by the medical outcome but rather by how you helped them through their experiences. These are the things that keep us going.”


Joanne Redondo began her career as a nurse 32 years ago when she graduated from Duquesne University, in Pittsburgh, PA. She has always worked in a University/Teaching Hospital setting and began her career at Presbyterian University Hospital, now known as UMPC Presbyterian Hospital. Her initial surgical career began with organ transplants, primarily liver, kidney, and pancreas. She worked for a team of transplant surgeons headed by Dr. Thomas Starzl, the pioneer of organ transplantation. Although Joanne loved the specialty, she decided to advance her career in the surgical Critical Care setting for the next 20 years. During that time, she took on several administrative roles, but her passion was always at the bedside providing direct patient care. She loved the critical care specialty and always dreamed to become more autonomous and work closer with the patients and their families when she went back to school. As the role of the CRNP began to evolve, she envisioned herself in this exciting role. Joanne stated, “I would spend endless hours with families in crisis while working in the ICU, and knew that God called me to not only provide direct care to their loved ones, but to also minister to them in times of need.” As she began to care for more and more patients inflicted with cancer, her desire to work with oncology patients grew. Joanne believed she could make a difference in their lives, big or small, and was determined to persevere ahead, whatever it took. Although her ultimate goal was to obtain her MSN and become a nurse practitioner, her job as a mother of 4 young children had to take precedence over advancing my career. She went back to graduate school in 2009 while working full time and teaching nursing students part-time at the university to help supplement her tuition. She graduated in May 2012 Summa Cum Laude from Duquesne University, as a CRNP with a focus in Family Care. At 52 years old, Joanne was finally able to achieve her lifelong goal of earning an advanced degree. She accepted her first job 3 years ago working in the Surgical Oncology division at the Hillman Cancer Center. Her specialty involved GI, liver, pancreas, melanoma, and mesothelioma type cancers. Joanne stated, “I know this was my calling. As I embarked on a new chapter in my life, I did not realize how many families and lives I would affect on a daily basis. I have not only gained a new career, but I have gained endless new patients and families to love and care for. I have to say that many of the mesothelioma patients have touched my heart in ways too difficult to express.” Within the last year, Joanne met a young 24 year old diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma - the same age as her oldest son. This was the toughest, but most challenging case for her. I feel honored that he feels comfortable calling me – as he has done exceeding well since his HIPEC surgery over 1 year ago.  She also cared for a young woman her own age, an RN and mother of 4 beautiful daughters. Joanne stated, “She inspires me to take each day and embrace it!!” Joanne goes on to say, “From my patients, although I continue to teach and support them about their own disease, I have in turn learned so much from them in regards to hope, perseverance, and living each day to the fullest - a priceless gift!! For me, the most difficult moments are knowing that there is no cure for mesothelioma. Nonetheless, I have such an unending passion to help these families through such a difficult post-operative road and endless treatment plan.” When asked what she enjoys most about being a nurse, Joanne stated, “I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to care for such challenging, yet rewarding patients. I continue to keep in touch with many of my patients that are struggling with minimal treatment options left after multiple surgeries and chemotherapy regimens, and will continue to stand tall to support the fight to find a cure!”


Danielle Tiernan began her nursing career at Northeastern University in 1995. She landed her very first cooperative education experience on a thoracic surgical floor the following year at BWH in 1996. Right away, she felt like this was the place where she belonged. While at Northeastern, she also spent time working in BWH Day Surgery and a Pediatric ICU at Boston Children's Hospital as part of her co-op opportunities, all while managing to work part-time as a Patient Care Assistant on the thoracic floor where she began. Danielle eventually graduated from Northeastern's School of Nursing in 2000 and, given her consistent co-op relationship with BWH from 1995 - 2000, she was able to make a smooth transition from part-time PCA to full-time RN. She has since continued her nursing career at BWH - a career that has lasted for the next 14 years. When asked what she enjoys most about being a nurse, Danielle stated, “As I reflect back, I realize that I have now spent roughly half of my life in the nursing field, and I cannot imagine my life apart from it. I love making a connection with each and every patient that I care for and having the ability to make a positive difference (no matter how small) in their lives while in my care. I feel that it is critically important to provide patients with all of the medical care necessary to improve their overall health, however I also believe that it is equally as important to treat them with dignity and respect, as well as provide them with the emotional support that they so desperately crave in such vulnerable times. This is how I practice nursing. This is what I love to do.”