As a registered nurse with the Smilow Cancer Hospital’s Medical Oncology-Hematology unit, Amy Zethner builds bonds with her patients and their families.
“It’s a very rewarding experience,” she said. “Because we have patients that come here for long period of times for transplants, for chemo.”
Around this past Memorial Day, Zethner learned what it’s like to be the loved one of a patient after her mother Laura Dulude suddenly lost feeling in one of her arms.
“She ended up coming here for a second opinion and she in fact had cancer,” Zethner said.
A month after discovering melanoma tumors had spread, Zethner’s mom passed away. She was 51.
“I’ll be riding in memory of her so it will make it even more meaningful,” said Zethner as she gears up for a fourth Closer to Free ride with Team Heme Rollers. “Most of the team members are either nurses, doctors. We’ve also had patients and family members ride with us.”
Yale nursing student Greg Walter is riding with the Heme Rollers.
for the first time following time spent with the Oncology-Hematology unit.
“I was just really impressed will all the oncology nurses, the way they interacted with the patients, how brave the patients were,” Walter said. “It was hugely inspiring in a way I didn’t expect.”
Walter is also a research assistant for a study funded by money raised at previous Closer to Free rides, so like Zethner, he knows how donations from the ride directly support research and patient care.
“I figured this ride would be a way to raise awareness,” Zethner said. “And raise money for the patients I still take care of and hopefully improve future treatments in memory of my mom, of course.”
NBC Connecticut is a proud sponsor of the Closer to Free ride on Saturday September 10.