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Healthcare experiences impact all of us and there are those unexpected moments when someone or something has made a significant difference in helping you get better and stay well. With your help, we want to capture these remarkable moments. Novant Health is committed to making your entire healthcare experience easier, personal, and better connected. Hearing your stories on how we are creating remarkable moments enables us to continue to improve and helps you get to know us as a healthcare system.

Sarah Crowell, Hospital Hero and cancer survivor, inspires hope for all

Sarah Crowell, Hospital Hero and cancer survivor, inspires hope for all

Apr 20 2016

Sarah CrowellPerhaps more than any other profession, nursing requires one to empathize from their heart. For Sarah Crowell, oncology nurse navigator, Novant Health Derrick L. Davis Cancer Center, creating a heartfelt connection to her patients is the most important part of her job.

When Sarah was 13, she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, and given a 20 percent chance to live. A bone marrow transplant from her brother and chemotherapy placed her in remission. From this experience, Sarah wanted so badly to become a nurse, but was too scared of going back into the hospital environment.

After many years of working in human resources, she had to follow her heart. "Going back to school at 30, I was thinking I would be the oldest person in my class and I was starting from scratch, starting all over," Sarah said. "But it was in my heart, it was my calling and I knew I had to do it. So I was married, worked full time and went to school full time to get my nursing degree."

Two years ago, in the midst of her healthcare journey, she was diagnosed with cancer again. This time it was breast cancer. For some, working in an oncology unit after two separate bouts with cancer would be unthinkable; but for Sarah, it would have been unthinkable not to.

Sarah shares, “I knew my diagnoses of leukemia and breast cancer had a purpose: I was meant to pay it forward to help others.”

And that’s just what she did, after working on the oncology unit for five years, Sarah has embraced her new role as a breast oncology navigator. Whenever there is a new patient diagnosed with breast cancer she educates and is there to provide support and encouragement for them and their family. She provides information about their diagnosis, their treatment options and what side effects to expect throughout treatment. She takes the time to sit with them and create questions to ask the doctor. She does not hesitate to involve other disciplines, oncology dietitian, chaplain services, and counselors, to ensure that all patient needs are met. Sarah offers her patients hope from her perspective as not just a medical professional, but of a fellow survivor.

Sarah’s shining light of hope, strength, perseverance and dedication to all of the patients she touches. Recently, Sarah was recognized by the Coalition to Protect America’s Health Care Hospital Heroes program as a 2015 Hospital Hero, honoring her for using her personal battles to fuel her passion for patient care. Sarah was also awarded the 2015 100 Great Nurses of North Carolina award for exemplifying excellence in nursing and care services.

Sarah is truly remarkable and an important resource for our patients. She has excelled as a staff nurse and currently in her role as one of the Breast Oncology Navigators, always remaining positive and engaged even in the toughest of times. She actively volunteers to serve on hospital committees, nurses’ week activities, and has created and facilitated a support group for blood cancer patients and caregivers.

On behalf of all the patients, families and colleagues she has touched, we could not be more grateful and proud of you, Sarah