The Brigham community mourns the loss of Rhonda Manczurowsky, RN, of Radiation Oncology at the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center at Milford Regional Medical Center. Mrs. Manczurowsky died July 14 of mesothelioma. She was 54 years old.
She had been a member of the Radiation Oncology team at Milford since its opening in 2008 and was known by her colleagues for her enthusiasm, warmth and dedication to her patients.
“She was a wonderful nurse and person,” said Colleen Whitehouse, DNP, RN, nurse director of Radiation Oncology. “She was beloved by the patients and families she cared for. I miss her so much already.”
Patients and families would ask for Mrs. Manczurowsky when they returned for follow-up visits, even years after their treatment. These meetings would include “laughter, hugs, stories and this aura of peace and calm that had to be experienced to be understood,” wrote Peter Orio, DO, vice chair of Network Operations for Radiation Oncology, in a message to colleagues. “Rhonda would remember not only the names of each of her patients, but also their entire life stories, even as the years passed and follow-ups became less frequent. Our patients absolutely adored her.”
Kayla Manczurowsky, BSN, RN, of Gynecology Oncology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, eulogized her mother during her memorial service, reflecting on her courage, selflessness and strength.
“She intimately impacted my career in nursing along her oncology journey, for she is the ultimate role model as a nurse in cancer care. It was truly an honor to care for my mother, especially in her final moments,” she said.
Kayla spoke of her mother’s “exquisite enthusiasm” for everything she did. “She even kept a quote on her desk at the cancer center, stating, ‘Enthusiasm makes the ordinary EXTRA-ordinary,’ and to this day, I hear countless people reciting those beloved words.”
Kayla noted that her mother, who previously worked in medical/surgical nursing, found her “true calling” as an oncology nurse at the DF/BWCC in Milford. “I will continue to bring her enthusiasm to every patient I encounter in the years to come,” she said.
Mrs. Manczurowsky’s colleagues plan to honor her by placing a bell on the unit for patients to ring on their last day of treatment. “Rhonda often ran to the treatment machine to celebrate with patients on their last day, and we want to dedicate the bell to her so she will be part of these celebrations for always,” said Whitehouse.
In addition to Kayla, Mrs. Manczurowsky is survived by her husband, Walter, and daughters, Julia and Sofia, in addition to her mother, Ann Marie; sister, Lynn; and brother, Ronald.
In honor of Mrs. Manczurowsky’s dedication to the field of oncology and in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation at curemeso.org/donate.