When TJ Baudanza was first diagnosed with Stage IV colorectal cancer at age 28, he felt like he had been dropped onto a battlefield to fight his disease all alone. However, during his long and hard-fought war over the past two and a half years, he found he had a seasoned partner in battle: Shelia O’Donoghue, RN, OCN. Throughout dozens of cycles of chemo, several surgeries and many ups and downs in his prognosis, Shelia has been an active partner in TJ’s fight against cancer.
TJ says it best: “My angel through my battle is named Shelia O’Donoghue, and she is everything I could have ever asked for in a nurse. Besides discussing management of symptoms and side effects, administering infusions and doing all that her job requires, she has always gone to the extra level. What I admire the most about Shelia is her ability to be real and candid: not force-feeding conversations or jokes or canned questions to encourage conversation. She will laugh when something is actually funny, give her opinion on something she cares about and engage in conversations she’s interested in. She lets her beautiful personality shine through, and it puts everyone in the room at ease. Shelia has simply felt like a part of our family and will always be a hero in my eyes.”