Real-Life Stories

Happy “National Nurses Day”

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
May 6, 2020

To celebrate we’re honoring one of the best

The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 as “Year of the Nurse and Midwife.” With the current global crisis, it couldn’t be more appropriate timing. Nurses and frontline workers are currently being recognized as heroes. In honor of this we’re spotlighting Chris Oless, a phase I/II pediatric oncology research nurse at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Chris is at the very forefront of the incredible work being done to advance childhood cancer research.

Nurse and Kid

Destined to be a nurse

Chris was a 19-year old freshman in pre-med when his dad was diagnosed with cancer. His father decided to take part in a clinical trial. He knew it wouldn’t help save his life, but he did it because he hoped it would save others down the road. A nurse named George who cared for Chris’s dad, made such an indelible mark on Chris that it compelled him to go into nursing.

Following a calling

Twenty-five years later Chris found his dad’s consent form to take part in that clinical trial. It turned out the medication that was administered to his father is now part of a treatment plan that Chris himself successfully uses routinely today. It warmed his heart that his father hadn’t died in vain. It also confirmed for him that he chose to follow the right calling. He knows that even though he may not always be able to save all his patients today, the medications he’s researching will likely make big impacts in pediatric cancer down the road.

Committed to St. Baldrick’s

Chris has seen firsthand the positive impact research can make in the life of a child with cancer. Recognizing that a disproportionate amount of fundraising goes to help adults with cancer, he’s committed to doing what he can to help kids with cancer realize brighter futures. To raise awareness and funds, he has taken part in two head-shaving events already. Asked why he does it, he replied, “St. Baldrick’s Foundation is one of the leading funders of research for kids with cancer and giving is important.” St. Baldrick’s is committed to research nurses like Chris. That’s why half of Chris’s team has their salary paid for by St. Baldrick’s research grants.

Connecting through care

Over his 27-year career, Chris has played many roles in nursing but one thing that’s never changed is his approach. He helps and cares for patients in their time of need by connecting on their level, literally. When needed, he gets down on the ground to treat them, to play with them and to make them as comfortable as possible. He has many fond memories of his patients. Including the thousands of times that little girls who were in his care painted his fingernails. To Chris and all the other nurses out there, we thank you for your taking care of us all.

Join us today and #DFYchildhoodCancers!


Read more on the St. Baldrick’s blog: