RN Spotlight: Care for brother with cancer led to nursing

Debbie Lopez, RN

Published: Aug. 29, 2013

As a teenager, Debbie Lopez saw the compassionate care Sparrow Nurses provided to her younger brother while he battled cancer and was inspired to become a Nurse herself.

She has used the same compassion with her Patients at Sparrow over the past eight years. It's one of the reasons she's being honored as this month's RN Caregiver Spotlight. Sparrow's RN Caregiver Spotlight recognizes one Nurse each month and honors his/her accomplishments in nursing excellence.

Lopez's brother, Nathaniel Moreno, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia when he was just 4 years old.

"It was a scary time for all of us," said Lopez, who grew up in Lansing. "I didn't know much about cancer at the time. The unknown was very scary."

Lopez and her family spoke with Sparrow Caregivers to educate themselves about the disease and to do whatever was necessary to help Nathaniel.

"We didn't have any extended family in Michigan," said Lopez. "The Caregivers at Sparrow treated us like we were their family. It was something I'll never forget."

Nathaniel, now 25, is healthy after a five-year battle with the disease. Lopez partly credits his recovery to Sparrow Nurses.

"As a Nurse, I always put the Patient first. That's what Sparrow did for my family and that's what I'm going to for every Patient, every time."

Lopez and her brother are also currently featured in a promotional campaign on local media about Sparrow's Magnet Designation for nursing excellence. The Nurse Magnet Designation, the nation's most prestigious honor for nursing achievement and excellence, means more great Nurses caring for Patients.