When the Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) program at St. Luke's Regional Cancer Center in Duluth, MN, was re-established in 2017, Tina Roberts, LCSW, searched through months of records to find the patient she had met months earlier. Tina registered the patient for the program, because she remembered how disappointed the patient had been when the program became unavailable in mid-2016. The patient was amazed that Tina had remembered their conversation, but for Tina, patient needs are never forgotten.
As a licensed oncology social worker at St. Luke's Regional Cancer Center, Tina makes each day a little brighter for her patients, families, and colleagues. She spends quality time with patients to understand their concerns, as well as their spiritual and social needs. She spends the time to get to know them on a deeper level.
It is not unusual for Tina to spend countless hours on the phone connecting patients with local resources. Often, patients may be too weak from the side effects of treatment, so Tina will help make any necessary arrangements so the patients can rest. She has helped patients find the perfect wig and referred cancer patients in need of a meal to a program called Loaves and Fishes, which she has supported for close to 30 years by preparing a home-cooked meal once month.
Tina does not just work at the Cancer Center. She stays in touch with patients even after their treatment is complete. "Tina became a part of our support team. When my brother had to travel hundreds of miles from home to receive treatment, she arranged a hotel room through the American Cancer Society. She was there when we learned that his disease had progressed, and she visited in the hospice to be with him in his final days. She made his two-year battle with cancer much easier and a little less fearful," recalled the patient's sister.
Tina has spent evenings and weekends attending patient wakes and funerals. Often after someone has passed, family members come to the Cancer Center just to talk with Tina. Her comforting voice and hugs help them process their grief.
Tina also is involved with Relay For Life and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. She recruits survivors and colleagues and organizes fundraisers. "Tina, literally and figuratively walks alongside patients, in this setting, and every setting, every day," said one colleague.
Tina's colleagues refer to her as a "shining light" and say that her "never-ending dedication is a calming presence for patients in uncharted waters."
In February, Tina was honored at the 2018 Nationwide Volunteer and Staff Leadership Summit with the American Cancer Society's 2018 Lane Adams Quality of Life Award. You can listen to her acceptance speech.
Do you know an exceptional volunteer that should be nominated for the 2019 Lane Adams Quality of Life Award?
The Lane Adams Quality of Life Award recognizes those who are providing care and support which impacts the quality of life for cancer patients and their families. This award seeks to recognize individuals who go beyond the duties of their positions to make a difference in the daily struggles of cancer patients, yet their contributions are seldom significantly acknowledged. Learn more here. The nomination deadline has been extended to 3 p.m. ET on Friday, May 25.
TOP PHOTO: From left, ACS CEO Gary Reedy; Tina Roberts, LCSW; volunteer Susan Henry, chair, Lane Adams Quality of Life Award Workgroup; and ACS Board Chair Kevin J. Cullen, MD.