Exceptional Care, Exceptional Gratitude

Lung cancer treatment inspires patient to create international award

Published in Winter 2018

Marilyn Holman remembers very clearly her first appointment at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins Bayview. She and her husband, Dr. Matthew Holman, still were in a devastated shock after Marilyn was diagnosed with lung cancer in the fall of 2016. What they remember most about that day, however, was the feeling of being embraced by an extraordinary care team.

Many Questions, Many Answers

The Holmans and their family met for an initial consultation with Russell Hales, M.D., and Christine Hann, M.D. “We arrived with my sister and my wife’s two sisters, each with a long list of questions,” Dr. Holman remembers. “Both doctors talked with us for hours and were extremely patient and compassionate.” 

As Marilyn’s treatment began, she and her husband continued to notice how comfortable they felt with all the Cancer Center staff. “There was no ego with the doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners. They were always open and receptive, very knowledgeable, and in a position to respond,” says Dr. Holman. 

Marilyn’s oncology team included Dr. Hales, her radiation oncologist; Dr. Hann, her medical oncologist; Amy Vance, RN, her nurse practitioner; and Hanika Rodavia, RN, her chemotherapy nurse. “There were never any surprises about the journey and what was ahead for me,” Marilyn explains. “They provided information about the treatment and the medications, and were so accessible through phone and emails.”

A Way to Say Thank You

As she got closer to the end of her treatment, Marilyn and her husband wanted to do something to recognize the team. “We searched for an award, but we could not find anything,” she explains. “So, we decided we must create one.” After coming across the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), a world leader in lung cancer research, the Holmans approached them and worked with them to create the IASLC Foundation Lung Cancer Care Team Award. Marilyn, an art teacher and artist, helped to create and design the award, then nominated her care team to be the inaugural recipient.

The IASLC Foundation Lung Cancer Care Team Award honors multidisciplinary teams that work together to provide the highest quality cancer care. Nominations were accepted from all over the world. The oncology team at Johns Hopkins Bayview was one of two winners from North America.

The award was presented to Marilyn’s oncology team at the World Conference in Yokohama, Japan, on October 16, 2017.

“My family and I are so appreciative of the dedicated staff at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, and the impact of all the care providers out there,” Marilyn says. “Thank you.”