Cancer patient gets a surprise mani-pedi

Vancouver | September 12, 2018
Small act lifts spirits and brings a smile

Vancouver, Washington resident, Sandra Stockdale, 65, has seen plenty of sorrow. Her granddaughter died in a car accident and her daughter followed shortly after from an overdose.

As she grappled with grief, she found strength with PeaceHealth’s counseling program.

“I couldn’t have made it through otherwise,” Sandra recalls. “They uplifted me and told me it’s okay to feel pain; it’s okay to be happy again.”

Some months later, as fate would have it, she was diagnosed with stage 4 gall bladder cancer. Her young nephew, Tim Tyler, is her sole caretaker, helping her through her grief and her cancer treatment.

A regular at the PeaceHealth Southwest Regional Cancer Center for more than six months, Sandra stoically continues treatment with a chemotherapy infusion regimen recommended by her hematologist and oncologist, Dr. Kelly Smith.

“Sandra likes it here at the cancer center, and is treated like family,” says Shawn Brossart, clinical social worker at PeaceHealth Southwest Cancer Center. “She always talks about how much care and support she receives from the clinic staff.”

During one of her regular visits, Sandra happened to talk about her bucket list that included simple pleasures such as going to the casino, picking her own lobster at Red Lobster and getting a manicure and pedicure.

Hearing this, Nancy Scott, high-risk care manager at PeaceHealth took time to search online, make some calls and find a manicurist who made home visits.

“A mani-pedi is a reasonable mental health goal to have,” Nancy says. “Self-image is an important part of who you are and when patients look better, they do feel better!”

Nancy asked Rochelle White, PeaceHealth clinical nursing supervisor of infusion oncology, if they had extra funds. Rochelle found $60 from a recent bake sale fundraiser. Nancy and her fellow high-risk care manager, Carol Williamson, pooled in the remaining $30 anonymously and sent a manicurist to Sandra’s door.

“PeaceHealth did the most wonderful thing,” Sandra says. “I haven’t had a mani-pedi in at least seven years! They sent a lady out to give me a mani-pedi and it was just wonderful. I know I am dying and I was feeling down that day and it really lifted my spirits. I was so surprised!”

Rochelle says the cancer center daily takes care of many patients in need. “It touches your heartstrings when you see them struggling and this is really a small thing we can do to bring a smile to their face.”