Anniversary Party Celebrates Best In Cancer Care

Duke Cancer Institute held its Seventh Annual Anniversary Celebration on Thursday, Nov. 2. Hosted by DCI executive director Michael B. Kastan, MD, PhD, the event, celebrating the previous year’s milestones, recognized the institute’s superstar achievements.

The 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award, the highest honor given by Duke Cancer Institute, was presented to patient service associate Peggy Moody, who has been on staff at Duke for more than 50 years. The award is presented to an individual who, daily, lives out the institute’s core values, consistently demonstrating a commitment to excellence and compassionate care.

“I can honestly say with the utmost conviction that no one demonstrates more dedication, commitment and compassion than Peggy,” wrote Tina Piccirilli, who nominated Moody for the prestigious award. “Peggy has enjoyed success leading critical process changes as manager of the DUH Business Office, a member of the Medical PDC and Oncology Services. She is beloved in her role here at the cancer center — by faculty, staff, patients and their loved ones.”

Peggy Moody, 81, first joined Duke in 1967, just 10 years after she married her husband, David. Peggy is no stranger to cancer. Her mother, Mildred Elliot, now deceased, was treated at Duke for bladder cancer. David, 91, also treated at Duke, has been battling prostate cancer since 1992. In 2005 the couple's only child, Lynne, was diagnosed with breast cancer. While still in treatment at Duke, Lynne was subsequently diagnosed with a brain tumor. “Through it all,” Piccirilli said, “Peggy continued to serve as a role model and an ambassador for all things are possible.”

This year’s Exceptional Colleague Award was presented to John P. Kirkpatrick, MD, PhD, clinical director of the Department of Radiation Oncology and lead radiation oncologist of the CNS radiation oncology program.

“Dr. Kirkpatrick serves with great distinction and dedication,” wrote his nominator Christopher G. Willett, MD, chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology and professor of Radiation Oncology. “His attention to the care of his patients and colleagues is impeccable. He is always the first to volunteer for any coverage issue or effort when assistance is needed. Dr. Kirkpatrick is extraordinarily supportive of staff, including nursing, physicists, therapists and administrative staff.

Willet went on to share that Dr. Kirkpatrick, who has been at Duke since 2000, is “wholeheartedly” dedicated to the wellbeing of his patients—the first to arrive and the last to leave the clinic.

Janelle Blossingham, RN, Clinic 3, received the Exceptional Care Award. Brent Hanks, MD, PhD, nominated Blossingham for the award.

“Janelle is consistently going above and beyond to take care of our patients to take care of our patients and manage work flow,” shared Hanks. “She voluntarily calls patients to make sure they are managing okay at home. Janelle communicates updates continuously with the treatment room without being asked to do so. She proactively addresses situations in order to minimize interruptions to clinic work flow. She even recently volunteered to help the with a staffing crisis in the cancer center treatment room.”

Hanks also shared that Blossingham never complains and is always upbeat.

We are exceptionally proud of today’s Superstar Award recipients,” said Kastan. “These dedicated individuals represent the very best in cancer care.”

For a second year the celebration, held in the lobby of Duke Cancer Center, featured the acoustic music of Daniel Nickels, RN, an ICU nurse at Duke Raleigh Hospital. Nickels, a rising singer-songwriter, launched a fundraising campaign in September 2016, dedicating the proceeds from his debut album, The Answer, to breast cancer research at Duke. The anniversary celebration included heavy hors d'oeuvres, a drawing for prizes and a photo booth. Guests also received parting gifts.