Local hospice nurse honored for turning a past tragedy into positivity

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Some very special nurses in our area are being honored by Independence Blue Cross, as part of the Celebrate Caring campaign.

The campaign recognizes nurses that go above and beyond in their caring and received 700 nominations. Three winners were chosen.

One is Anne DeLuca, who has turned a past family tragedy into helping others.

The award came as a total surprise to Anne when she arrived for her shift at Penn Medicine Inpatient Hospice.

"It was a giant shock to walk into cameras and co-workers and family and all these celebratory things," she said.

"A lot of nurses came in on their day off and we just all celebrated her, they picked a great nurse," said DeLuca's manager, Luann Ljubic.

Anne is a hospice nurse. It's a difficult line of work with helping people deal with the end of life, but Anne says it's a privilege.

"It's a special opportunity to be with a patient and family at a very intimate time to help them with some really challenging transitions and kind of impact what that experience is like for that family," she said.

Unfortunately, Anne knows that experience first hand. She lost her sister Becca to brain cancer. Becca was just 16 when she died, Anne was 20 at time.

Anne went on to work in oncology and then at Penn Medicine Inpatient Hospice since it opened about ten years ago. She turned her pain into something positive, helping thousands of families over the years.

Anne's colleagues share a story of when Anne helped arrange a sleep-over party for a young girl and her young dying father to give the family that lasting memory.

It's things like this that sparked fellow hospice nurse Margy Bagga to nominate Anne for the award.

Another colleague, Barbara Love says Anne has every quality it takes to be a hospice nurse.

"She is a team player, she's an advocate for her patients, she's caring, she's smart," she said.

The winners are also asked to pick a charity to receive a $1,500 donation. Anne chose a program that helps kids cope with the grief of losing a loved one.
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