SEATTLE — July 6, 2016 — Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) nurse and lymphoma survivor Christen Heye, ARNP was named “Woman of the Year” by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Washington/Alaska Chapter. Christen was recognized for being the top female fundraising candidate in the annual Man & Woman of the Year (MWOY) fundraising campaign. Both Christen and her mom Diane are nurses at SCCA, a cancer treatment center that combines leading-edge researchers and cancer specialists of Fred Hutch, Seattle Children’s and UW Medicine as one team dedicated to providing the best possible care with the best possible outcomes for patients and their diagnoses.
“Christen exemplifies a commitment to health and healing in all that she does, as both a highly valued member of the SCCA nursing and care team, as well as in her personal commitment to patients and the local community,” said Angelique Richard, Ph.D., RN, SCCA’s chief nurse executive and vice president of clinical operations.
Christen was inspired to raise funds for LLS’s local chapter not only as a nurse, but as a survivor. In 2013, Christen was working in a hematology/oncology unit at the University of Washington Medical Center during a break from college. Just as she was getting ready to return for her final semester of nursing school in Boston, she learned she had a tumor. Her diagnosis: primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma, a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that typically affects young women. Fortunately, advances in blood cancer therapies, funded in part by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, allowed her to receive a very effective chemotherapy regimen at SCCA.
“The providers and nursing staff played a critical role in the success of my treatment,” said Christen. “I’ve always had a desire to work with patients and families facing cancer diagnoses and treatment, but after my own experience, I knew I had the opportunity to pay forward the excellent care that I received.”
Following treatment, she returned to school, completed her undergraduate degree and began her graduate studies to become a nurse practitioner. She graduated with a Master of Science in Nursing from Boston College and was offered a position at SCCA in hematologic malignancies. Today Christen works alongside her mom Diane, who is the longest serving Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) nurse at SCCA.
The Fred Hutch Bone Marrow Transplant Program at SCCA pioneered the clinical use of bone marrow and stem cell transplantation for blood cancers more than 40 years ago, and has performed more than 14,000 bone marrow transplants – more than any other institution in the world. Additionally, people who have not found a matched donor may receive treatment at SCCA using a cord blood transplant or a haploidentical transplant.
LLS produces the Man & Woman of the Year campaign as a spirited fundraising competition in communities across the U.S. Teams raise funds for LLS in honor of local children who are blood cancer survivors, deemed “Boy & Girl of the Year.” Titles are awarded to the man and woman in each community who raise the most funds during the ten-week campaign; the top local fundraisers in the country also win national titles. All donations directly support LLS in its longstanding mission to find cures and ensure patients have access to the treatments they need.
Fred Hutch Media Team