Just nine months after being diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia, Katie Ferraris Taylor, a recent law school graduate, passed away at the age of 29. But in the short time she battled the disease, Katie cemented special bonds with Winship oncology nurses who cared for her, laughed and cried with her, threw her in-hospital bachelorette party, and attended her wedding.
"Katie was always upbeat and especially grateful to her nurses," says her father Garry Ferraris. "She kept her sense of humor and never lost her sense of grace. When we would be weak she would be strong. She maintained a positivity that was unbelievable under the circumstances."
Among her final acts, Katie asked that remembrances in her name be used to provide lasting tribute to her oncology nurses. From this request, her family and more than 200 donors created The Katie Ferraris Taylor Oncology Nursing Fund at Winship. Now valued at over $142,000, the fund has helped more than 30 nurses continue their education in the oncology field.
"With the scholarship, I have had the financial ability to increase my knowledge base, help the next patient, and share what I learn with my colleagues," says Deatra Perkins, a 20-year veteran of oncology nursing and two-time Katie's Fund recipient.
The 2017 Katie Ferraris Taylor Oncology Nursing Fund award recipients Ashley Morgan, Ashley Rayner, Mattie Childs and Zabrina Furlow with Katie's parents Ginny Ferraris and Garry Ferraris, and her husband Keith Taylor.