Nomination Letters – Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Bette Jeanne Kelly

I was diagnosed with an advanced form of breast cancer in November 2011. Following my surgery, I began extensive chemotherapy and am extremely fortunate to have Bette Jeanne Kelly as my infusion nurse. From the start, Bette Jeanne made a very difficult and challenging time in my life more manageable. I am currently the clinical director of a local ambulatory surgery center and am very familiar with quality patient care. Bette Jeanne is a kind, sincere individual who provides extraordinary patient care. She has helped me to navigate treatments and to effectively deal with symptoms and side effects. She always provides a comprehensive explanation of my status (labs, etc.) prior to treatment and communicates well with my physicians in order to provide the best possible care. Bette Jeanne works tirelessly to help me manage my symptoms and situation so I can be more comfortable at home and more in control of my current situation. In addition to being a fantastic caregiver, Bette Jeanne has become a valued friend. At each and every visit, she always asks how I am doing, how my family is holding up, how work is going, and, of course, my views on the latest episode of Downton Abbey. As my treatment is nearing completion and has become less rigorous, Bette Jeanne’s level of care has remained constant. I will always be grateful for her competence and compassion. She has been a bright spot throughout this very challenging time.

—Nominated by Ivie Cremer

Debra LaFrankie


Debra LaFrankie is a neuro-oncology nurse at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. I have been the grateful recipient of her care for many years. Debra has always responded immediately to questions and concerns no matter the time of day or night or weekend or her day off. It has been a great privilege to have Debra on my health care team to provide the consistent care I have received. Debra always has a positive attitude coupled with a good sense of humor and complete honesty about my situation.

—Nominated by Ruth A Brown

Jennifer Lowell

Jennifer Lowell has had an amazing impact on my life since I was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2012. She has taken such unbelievably good care of me each week (I had chemo # 19 yesterday). Jennifer’s wonderful TLC has gone above and beyond normal care. She begins by giving me a hug (or two), immediately asks how my week has been, seats me comfortably, gets a pillow for my back, does my IV with great skill and gentleness, explains my current chemo meds and how long the infusion will take, gets me coffee, and constantly checks on me throughout the entire visit. Jennifer is also very kind to my daughter, including her in my care by answering any questions we might have. I feel so blessed to have Jennifer in my life—she’s definitely made this experience so very much easier than I would have ever expected.

—Nominated by Millie Chudzik

Melissa Cochran

It has been my great good fortune to have Melissa Cochran as my nurse practitioner. I had a stem cell transplant at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in April of 2010, and since then, I have seen Melissa regularly, at first every week, then every several weeks, and now every few months. During these past three years, Melissa has been an unfailing source of kindness, support, and expertise. She has been available each time I have a problem or a question, and is never too busy to listen to my concerns and to help me navigate the intricacies of the system. Melissa has always made me feel as if I have an ally and a friend at the Dana-Farber. Her clinical skills are complemented by her warmth and generosity of spirit. I have much to be grateful for—I have received state-of-the-art care at an incredible institution, and I have been blessed with excellent physicians and wonderful support staff. Melissa is at the center of my experience at Dana-Farber, and she will always have a special place in my heart.


—Nominated by Lorraine Witzburg

Pam Calarese

Pam Calarese has been my nurse practitioner since I was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer in August 2011. She is a marvelous resource for me, always available to answer a question or help with a concern. One Saturday last June, when I had an adverse reaction to a medication, I emailed Pam for help. She answered my email within five minutes, despite the fact (she told me later) that she was at the beach with her family. During office visits, Pam answers questions with confidence and humor. When I asked for an explanation of the medical term “ground glass,’’ she gave me a vivid description that helped me understand the term completely. Pam consistently demonstrates her thorough knowledge of new developments in lung cancer treatment and ways to ameliorate medication side effects. Pam has taken the time to get to know me as a person and we’ve even exchanged book suggestions. As astounding as it may seem to be able to say this, I actually enjoy my visits to the DFCI when I get to see Pam. She has made my experience much better than it might have been. She is comfortable to talk to, easy to reach, and a wonderful addition to my team.

—Nominated by Deb Smith

Tiffany Timbault

I would like to nominate Tiffany Timbault for my care during my hospital stay.

—Nominated by Ronald and Sandra Avola

Karen Murphy

I am writing again this year to nominate my daughter, Karen Murphy, as a terrific nurse. She works at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and loves her work there. She helped her sister Paula Murphy, who lives in San Francisco, last March when she was undergoing a single mastectomy. She helped her from afar (in Boston) leading up to the surgery and then she flew out to San Francisco to aid her and give her company throughout the surgery and recovery period— sending news and pictures back to Boston and all around the country, even to Ireland, to keep all the family informed. In the spring, she helped her brother Richard, who was having some medical issues— again keeping us all in the loop. In January of this year, I had plastic surgery done on my nose (squamous cell) at Milton Hospital. I told her I would be fine alone, but out she came to help me get back home and settled. She is a terrific nurse and a terrific daughter.


—Nominated by Barbara A. Murphy

Erin Santacroce

My two-year-old, Ari, hated to have his port accessed for weekly chemotherapy, but Nurse Erin is great at making Ari feel part of the process. She gives him jobs when he gets his “tubey’’ each week, and her smile, humor, and warm demeanor make it fun. She has new ways to distract him each week and tons of fun ways to keep him engaged. She makes having cancer a little bit easier and that means the world to us.

—Nominated by Julie Sue Goldwasser

Jenna Domenici

Jenna has been my chemotherapy nurse for several months now, and she has displayed an exemplary level of care and caring. She is knowledgeable about her field and will always take the time to answer my questions in a way that’s easy to understand. She follows very carefully all protocols for administering chemotherapy, so I’m always sure I’m getting the right medication at the right time. One of the first things we do on each visit is review my blood work numbers. She points out what’s good, and if anything is out of line. Fortunately for me, all of my numbers are looking fine, and she’s been very encouraging about that. She’s great at inserting IVs. Some nurses have it, and some don’t. Jenna has it and I’ve never had a sore or a bruised spot from the many needle insertions she’s had to do. This makes going home at the end of a long day of chemo that much happier. Jenna is a team player. I’ve watched her and her fellow nurses work together seamlessly, helping each other out or helping a patient. As busy as she is, she’s never too busy to pitch in. She’s a great listener and willing to share enough of her life so I feel comfortable with her. We trade dog stories, life stories, and whatever. It makes the day go by faster.


—Nominated by Brad Newman

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