Cancer patient nominates local nurse for award after giving him "hope"

Schilling found hope in Sheila Dropcho, a nurse at IU Simon Cancer Center. As a cancer survivor herself, she knows creating a success story takes more than just medical results.

Indianapolis

A local man was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2008, shortly after losing his wife of 30 years to cancer.

“It's a rollercoaster,” said Greg Schilling. “First you feel hopeless. Then, you want to have hope.”

Schilling found hope in Sheila Dropcho, a nurse at IU Simon Cancer Center. As a cancer survivor herself, she knows creating a success story takes more than just medical results.

“You can't just treat the disease,” said Dropcho. “You've got to treat the whole person.”

It is that passion and commitment that prompted Schilling to write a letter, describing Dropcho’s impact on his life. That letter led to Dropcho being chosen as one of three finalists for Cure Magazine’s 2012 Extraordinary Healer Award for Oncology Nursing.

“I was absolutely stunned,” said Dropcho. “[I was] absolutely honored that he would consider that I was extraordinary and worthy of such a wonderful award.”

Yet for Schilling, not even an honor like that can match what the nurse has meant to him and his battle.

“I'm alive today because of the hope she's given me,” said Schilling. “My cancer has shrunk 16 percent. It's stable. I'm basically symptom-free.”

It is that kind of outcome more than any honor that drives Dropcho.

“I want to make it as easy on them as absolutely possible,” said Dropcho.
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