Jean Painter:

Meet the Dream Team

Oncology Nurse Navigators and social workers Are the ‘Rocks’
During Difficult Days

When Jean Painter was diagnosed with colon cancer, her fears extended far beyond the disease and her own health. An aggressive treatment plan of radiation and chemotherapy five days per week meant that life as they knew it came to an abrupt halt for the Painter family.

“How will I get to and from appointments? Will we be able to make ends meet?” Jean asked herself.

Then, through the Virtua Oncology Program, Jean was introduced to Jackie Miller, an oncology nurse navigator, and Lauren Pluchino, an oncology social worker. The women walked Jean and her family through every daunting step of her cancer journey, easing their fears and helping them heal physically and emotionally.

“Working with Jackie and Lauren has really helped me to cope. It’s also helped me figure out ways to help my family. This is so hard on them, too,” said Jean.

Virtua oncology nurse navigators often serve as partners and friends, helping patients better understand their diagnoses and care plans. They seek to alleviate some of the stress and confusion that patients may experience in the days following a diagnosis by streamlining communication between patients and doctors, coordinating appointments and simply answering questions.

With the assistance from Lauren, Jean’s navigation team set up a transportation plan to get her to treatment, connected her with a program that delivered healthy meals to her home and helped her apply for financial assistance. They answered any question Jean had about her cancer and provided care and encouragement along the way.

When Jean had a fall that further complicated her health, her team scheduled nurses and therapists come to the home to care for her, alleviating the burden for her husband who couldn’t take additional time off of work.

“I’ve never had such good care as I did with Jackie and Lauren,” said Jean. “They were my rocks through all of this.”

Today, Jean is in remission and grateful for the experiences she had at Virtua and her with her oncology nurse navigation team.

Most patients treated for cancer at Virtua are provided with nurse navigation teams thanks to the generosity of the Newell-Tiburizi families who designated a planned gift to support this life-changing program.

Russell Newell passed away just four weeks after being diagnosed with cancer. His wife, Carol Byrnes Newell passed away within eight days of her cancer diagnosis. The couple designated Virtua as a beneficiary of their estate and it was up to their daughter to decide how the gift would be used.

“Cancer has really had an impact on our family and our friends,” said the Newells’ daughter, Karen Tiburzi. “We’ve found that the hardest thing to face is not knowing what to do.”

Karen’s hope is that this gift ensures other families who are facing cancer to have someone special by their side to guide them through the daunting journey.

Planned gifts, like the one designated by the Newell and Tiburzi families in support of Oncology Nurse Navigation services at Virtua, are developed by current donors for benefit in the future.

From funds donated through wills and retirement accounts to charitable trusts and gifts of appreciated assets, gift planning can help you meet personal financial goals and avoid tax burdens. It can leverage your assets' value and provide more security for your family. At the same time, consider the bigger picture: the long-term needs of Virtua, the ever-changing nature of health care and the possibility of advancements yet to come. Gift Planning can be a powerful way to establish your legacy, while costing you nothing today.

Visit Virtua Foundation’s Planned Giving website.


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