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Emanuel Cancer Centers Nancy Daley honored nationally by ACS
Emanuel cancer
Emanuel Cancer Centers Nancy Daley works with kids in the Monkey Business program. - photo by Photo Contributed

 Emanuel Cancer Center Concierge Nancy Daley – described more often as an angel or fairy godmother by Cancer Center patients – was honored this month by the American Cancer Society for the excellent and compassionate care she provides patients.

The 2012 Lane Adams Quality of Life Award was presented to Daley at a ceremony on May 3 in Dallas. She was one of 11 people selected nationally to receive the award.

“Going above and beyond the call of duty to extend the ‘warm hand of service’ to cancer patients is part of the extraordinary character these individuals demonstrate,” said Dr. W. Phil Evans, president of the American Cancer Society. “These extraordinary awardees deserve to be recognized and are critical to helping the American Cancer Society save lives from cancer.”

When working as a key member of the Emanuel Cancer Center’s concierge desk in Turlock, Daley welcomed patients to the Center and helped them navigate their treatments. It sounds simple but the way she did it was extraordinary, according to Center staff and patients who nominated her.

“I have worked in oncology for more than 30 years but I have never seen the impact of one person on so many,” wrote the oncology nurse who spearheaded Daley’s nomination. “Young, old, well, sick, non-English speaking patients are all drawn to the love that Nancy displays for each and every one of them as they come through the door for their oncology visits.”

Patients were even more effusive in their praise.

“Nancy possesses a seemingly magical ability to see people in need and find a way to put them at ease,” wrote one patient, mother of two and breast cancer survivor. “I am wholeheartedly nominating Nancy Daley for a Cancer Caregiver Award because in every sense of the word, she is my fairy godmother. Like in Cinderella’s story, Nancy is always there when I need her; she makes me feel safe and welcome. She exudes a wonderful, nurturing energy that I can only describe as magic.”

Daley downplayed her role.

“This award is for so many people at Emanuel Cancer Center,” she said. “It’s for the patients, their families and all my coworkers. I learned from all of them. My motto was that when someone walked through the door, they were the only person in the world with cancer. They were the most important person at that moment, and I tried to make them feel that way through their whole journey.”

“The entire Emanuel family is celebrating Nancy today,” said Michael Iltis, vice president of Professional Services who provides administrative oversight for Emanuel Cancer Center.  “Nancy has been a role model for many and we join today with the American Cancer Society in saluting her caring and compassionate spirit.”

In addition to greeting patients as a concierge, Daley also worked with two others to help start Monkey Business, a support group for children whose parent or another family member has cancer. Since its launch in 2008, Monkey Business has been one of the most successful and valued support groups for families living with cancer. Although she’s taken a leave from the concierge role, Daley continues to work with Monkey Business and is a facilitator at Jessica’s House, Emanuel’s new grief support program for children.

Opened in 2007, the Emanuel Cancer Center brings world-class cancer care to Turlock. The Center is fully accredited by the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer in recognition of its quality of treatment and care – a commendation only awarded to about 20 percent of cancer programs in the country. The Emanuel Cancer Center includes advanced diagnostic services at the Ruby E. Bergman Women’s Diagnostic Center, medical oncology, radiation oncology at Stanford Emanuel Radiation Oncology Center, surgical and other services for cancer patients and their families. Patients at Emanuel Cancer Center can also participate in clinical trials of new treatments.