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2016 Joslin Haggart Yeiser Unsung Hero Award Recognizes OHC Professionals, Patients, Caregivers

Joanie Manzo, R.N., B.S.N., Blogs, News Releases, 0 comments
June 1, 2016


OHC professionals, patients, and caregivers were again recognized at the 2016 Joslin Haggart Yeiser Unsung Hero Award banquet. Over 400 individuals attended the event on May 10, which honors oncology professionals, caregivers, and patients from the Tri-state community.

The following individuals from OHC were recognized at this prestigious event hosted by Cancer Family Care:

Oncology Professionals

  • Robin Boyd, clinical coordinator at HealthPlex, was nominated by Dr. Ed Crane. “Robin is a wonderful person who has helped thousands of patients during her 15 years at OHC, advocating to get them the necessary medication and always done with a smile and positive attitude.”
  • Sara Gonce, OHC clinical research regulatory specialist, was nominated by Dr. Pat Ward. “If ever there was a difficult and important job that has gone unrecognized, it’s the critical role of the regulatory specialist. Sara’s expertise ensures that everyone involved in the clinical trial is appropriately trained, and regulatory documentation is complete ensuring the trial can move forward. Sara is an inspiration to all.”
  • Dr. Prasad Kudalkar was nominated by Jennifer Williams, lead medical assistant. Recently, Jennifer witnessed Dr. Kudalkar share difficult news to a patient and their family. He also shared with them strength and hope. Jennifer notes, “By the end of the conversation, I watched a patient’s sadness and fear turn into strength that will prepare him for the battle to come. In that moment, I knew I had just witnessed a hero in action; I had just see what a true hero was – Dr. Kudalkar.”
  • Terry Meyer-Smith, OHC home infusion manager, was nominated by Judi Houchens, infusion services nurse. “Terry’s leadership with the ever-changing challenges in the healthcare industry has been met with zeal and with a “we’ll make it work” attitude; she is her patient’s advocate and always has a smile.”
  • David Ritter, director of procurement and facilities at OHC, was nominated by Sheila Perkins, OHC accounts payable specialist. “His faithful commitment and willingness to go above and beyond impacts all employees, clinical staff, providers, and patients. He continues Dr. Levy’s focus on the important value of patients first.”
  • Dr. Peter Ruehlman was nominated by Dr. Steve Feagins, Mercy Anderson. “Dr. Ruehlman exemplifies the face of cancer care at Mercy Anderson. He is considered the “go to” physician by his colleagues on compassionate and educated cancer care.”
  • Dr. Pat Ward was nominated by Dr. David Waterhouse. “He is a champion of cancer clinical trials and has helped develop a drug being tested in women with breast cancer. Dr. Ward dedicates countless hours to the OHC research department. He leads people and cares deeply about the research team and his patients.”


  • Jesse Ditmore was nominated by Judi Houchens. “When Jesse’s mom, Sandy, was diagnosed with cancer in 2012, he created Sandy Strong, a project that has galvanized the K-6 students at six elementary schools in the Forest Hills School District to write nearly 1,000 inspirational cards and letters to people suffering from Alzheimer’s, to families staying at the Ronald McDonald House, and to patients undergoing chemotherapy. Notes 12-year-old Jesse, “I’ve learned that the happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.”
  • Ravi Ranatunga was nominated by Dr. Ed Crane. “Ravi is an amazing person, husband, and father. His wife has been battling stage IV lung cancer and was diagnosed with breast cancer in the midst of her treatment for lung cancer. Certainly some of his wife’s success against her cancers can be attributed to the love, support, and dedication from her wonderful husband.”


  • Sandy Ditmore was nominated by Judi Houchens. “Sandy’s positive spirit in the face of fighting her battle against stage IV colon cancer has been inspiring not only to all who meet her but especially to her family. Sandy notes, “Jesse is proof positive that this outlook I have, the way I’m living, is being reflected in the actions of my son.”
  • JP Heiremans was nominated by Joanie Manzo, OHC director of physician relations. JP was diagnosed in 2011 with metastatic lung cancer. He fought back and enrolled in a clinical trial with the attitude, “whatever they learn from me hopefully can help others.” The drug was approved for the treatment of lung cancer. JP, a volunteer at the OHC Blue Ash location, comforts, teaches, listens, laughs, and delivers homemade brownies to patients, families, and staff.
  • Patricia Stone was nominated by Dr. Ed Crane. “Patricia brings a positive force and energy to the clinic. Her outlook and demeanor provide a sense of happiness to the staff that carries over to their interactions with other patients throughout the day.” Because of her participation in a clinical trial, the drug was approved.
  • Rodney Haley was nominated by Brooke Gillespie, APRN. “Rodney has been a patient of Brooke at the Christ Hospital. Even though he is going through treatment every two weeks, he always makes it a point to remember staff birthdays and brings gifts after returning from vacations. He has taught all the staff to be selfless.”

We salute all our Unsung Heroes who provide inspiration, hope, and demonstrate courage every single day.


The feature photo above includes (clockwise from top left): Michael Leavy, OHC; Jesse Ditmore; Shirley Strauss; Sandy Ditmore).


Unsung Hero Robin Boyd and Dr. Ed Crane.


Dr. Ed Crane and Unsung Hero Patricia Stone.


Dr. Ed Crane with Unsung Hero Ravi Ranatunga and his wife.


Unsung Hero Dr. Prasad Kudalkar and Jennifer.


Judy Houchens and Terry Meyer-Smith.


Unsung Heroes Dr. Pat Ward and Sara Gonce with Dr. David Waterhouse.








Unsung Hero Dr. Peter Ruehlman and Dr. Steve Feagins.


Unsung Hero JP Heiremans with his wife and sons.


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