Saturday, July 13, 2024

Levine Cancer nurse to attend Biden speech to Congress as guest

When President Joe Biden delivers his State of the Union address to Congress tonight an Atrium Health Levine Cancer nurse from Charlotte will be seated in the U.S. Capitol as a guest of first lady Jill Biden.

Kris Blackley believes Biden will talk about the patient navigation program she helps oversee at Levine Cancer during his televised speech to Congress and the nation. Blackley met Mrs. Biden when the first lady visited Levine Cancer in February. The president and first lady have jointly launched Cancer Moonshot, which aims to reduce the number of cancer deaths. Levine Cancer’s patient navigation program fits in well with that program, Blackley says.

Kris Blackley

“We help cancer patients in their journey through their cancer diagnosis and on through their treatment,” Blackley says. The patient navigation service Levine Cancer offers helps a patient get through their treatment as easily as possible by providing emotional support and making sure they’re getting the most beneficial treatment in a timely manner, she added.

“People often have trouble hearing anything else that is said to them when talking with their physician” after the initial diagnosis of cancer, says Blackley.

Blackley says Mrs. Biden was so engaged during her visit to Levine Cancer that she jokingly offered her a job. Blackley told Mrs. Biden about patient navigators at Levine Cancer, who identify barriers to care – such as transportation, childcare, housing, language and financial, among others.

This will be Blackley’s first trip to the White House. Before tonight’s speech she will also attend a White House dinner, she says. She says her husband is traveling with her, and he will remain back at the White House while she travels to the U.S. Capitol to hear Biden’s speech.

Blackley is director of patient navigation at Levine Cancer and has been an oncology nurse for over 30 years. She has been with Atrium Health – now part of Advocate Health – since 2000 and was with Levine Cancer Institute since its inception in 2011.


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