Mercy Medical Center’s Diane Wofsey, RN, BSN, nurse navigator with Mercy Breast Care Center, received the Susan G. Komen Northeast Ohio 2019 Leslie’s Angel Award at the Komen Breast Cancer Survivors Symposium held on October 26 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Independence. Named in remembrance of breast cancer patient and activist Leslie Jones, the Leslie’s Angel Award recognizes the highest level of volunteerism, teamwork, enuthusiasm, leadership and long-term commitment in the fight against breast cancer. Wofsey has dedicated the last 19 years of her nursing career to caring for and walking beside breast cancer patients and their families.
A Massillon resident, Wofsey began working at Mercy Medical Center as an LPN in 1974. In 1979 to transferred to Mercy’s Maternity Services and Neonatal Special Care Nursery where she cared for premature and sick babies for the next 21 years under the direction of Madeline Burkes, head nurse of the Special Care Nursery.
“Madeline was a significant blessing in my early nursing career,” Diane said. “She epitomized what a nurse should be and pretty much everything I learned about being a nurse and how to take care of patients came from Madeline.”
Diane furthered her education at Walsh University and became a registered nurse in 1990. In December of 2000, she accepted a new role as nurse navigator with Mercy Breast Care Center. During her time with the center, she has worked tirelessly to make an impact in the care of breast cancer patients.
“As a nurse navigator, Diane provides support for cancer patients, guiding them and their loved ones through the journey of pre-diagnosis screening to survivorship,” said Nicole Haines, RN, BSN, OCN, director of Mercy Cancer Services.
“Diane has a unique ability to bond with people right away,” Nicole said. “She makes them feel safe, and cared for, and puts them at ease from the moment she meets them. People going through cancer need that level of support and trust in their relationship with the navigator. She also knows how to identify needs people have sometimes before they even know it themselves. To be able to fill those needs, and yet never make anyone feel hopeless, but rather empower them, is a true gift.”
During her time with Mercy Breast Care Center, Diane received her BSN from Walsh University in 2003. In 2005, she was instrumental in starting a local chapter of the ANGEL (African American Women Nurturing and Giving Each Other Life) Network. Today, Mercy’s ANGEL Network has grown to 74 engaged members focused on reducing the number of breast cancer deaths among area African American women through early-detection programs, screening access and breast health education.
Diane has served on the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and Education Committees. She has also been a member of the Stark County Minority Health Coalition. Diane is a member of the National Consortium of Breast Centers and certified in both breast imaging and cancer navigation.
Diane plans to retire on February 17, 2020. She chose February 17 because it will be 46 years to the day from her start date at Mercy. When she reflects on her nursing career, caring for the smallest babies to women and their families through their cancer journey, she shares a story related to her nurse mentor.
“When I decided to leave the Special Care Nursery and began working in Mercy Breast Care Center, Madeline gave me her blessing and also a going away gift, which sits on my desk to this day. It’s a framed picture of a man’s hands cradling a premature baby much like the ones I took care of for over 20 years. The caption under the picture is a quote from Albert Einstein, which says, ‘There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.’ And that is the reason that I take care of my patients,” Diane said.
When asked about her plans after retirement, Diane says she will spend more time relaxing with her family who has graciously shared her with the many patients and families she has cared for while working at the hospital for 46 years. “And the rest will be a surprise,” she said with a laugh.
For more information about Mercy Breast Care Center, visit www.cantonmercy.org/cancer/breast-care-center.Please click here for media inquiries