“The memories you create, good or bad, are the memories that make you the nurse you are and the person you become.”
When you ask a child what they want to be when they grow-up, their answer can range from astronaut to Spiderman. When Kristy Marchese was a child, her answer remained constant – she wanted to be either a teacher or a nurse. Then, at the young age of 14, Kristy tragically lost her mother to cervical cancer. It was at that point in her life that she realized her true calling was nursing.
When her mother passed away, Kristy took on the responsibilities of caring for her two younger sisters. She took on the role of a mother while her father often worked multiple jobs to provide for the family and pay the medical bills. Kristy’s teenage years passed not as one would imagine. Instead of going out with friends and worrying about boys, she spent her time cooking dinners, doing laundry and helping with homework. Kristy took on her mother’s role and lived by a unique motto “What would my mother do?” This motto inspired her to pursue her nursing degree and after graduating from high school, she worked and paid her way through college ultimately earning her BSN from Widener University.
Fresh out of college she applied to nursing positions at Cooper Health. During her first interview she met with the oncology nurse manager for a position in the same unit where her mother had passed away 10 years earlier. Her interview started as any interview would – the nurse manager asked her why she was interested in oncology. Kristy remembers this conversation like none other; she started to explain that her mother passed away from cervical cancer 10 years prior and as a young girl, Kristy was left to care for her two sisters. Before she could say more, her interviewer jumped out of her seat and started to cry. The nurse manager recognized Kristy and remembered her mother. Unbeknownst to Kristy, the nurse manager had personally cared for her mother. The story of a young mother dying from a curable cancer and leaving behind 3 children was something the nurse manager could never forget. To Kristy, the story of a nurse remembering her mother, her siblings and herself, is one that she will never forget.
Kristy has been an Oncology nurse at Cooper Health System for 12 years. Many friends and family were uncertain about her working in a field that held so many sad memories, but Kristy knew she could do the greatest good and help the most people in nursing.
Eventually, Kristy knew that she had to pursue her MSN degree and Nursing Education Certificate from Thomas Edison State College to accomplish her goals. Kristy has drawn strength and inspiration from the memory of her mother every step of the way and now, she is able to achieve both of her childhood dreams, hoping to have a greater impact on the field of nursing through teaching.
Funding from the W. Cary Edwards Foundation supported the Nursing Scholarship that will allow Kristy to complete her education with fewer financial hurdles. She is grateful to others who help those in need like they did for her, and she carries that into her own passion for nursing and teaching. Kristy is an inspiration to those around her and she believes that this is simply because she is still living the motto of “what would her mother do.”