Heartfelt thanks for nurses at Tunnell Cancer Center

May 10, 2022

“You treat a disease – you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you win – no matter the outcome.” – Robin Williams in the movie “Patch Adams”

There’s something special about Beebe Oncology Services. We hear it all the time about Tunnell Cancer Center and the South Coastal Cancer Center. It’s hard to put your finger on it but, just like many things at Beebe, it’s the team members who make all the difference. They treat the person and the disease.

As we celebrate National Nurses Week May 6-12, it seems only fitting to highlight the very real impact one team of nurses had on a cancer patient’s treatment during the pandemic.

Last summer, Polly Smale reached out to Beebe Medical Foundation. She wanted to do something special for the infusion nurses at Tunnell Cancer Center in memory of her late wife Charlotte “Char” Reid. While this type of request is not out of the ordinary, I could tell after speaking with her just how much the team at Tunnell meant to her and Char.

Polly welcomed me into her home and shared with me the story of her wife’s diagnosis and courageous battle against cancer. Char was a patient at Tunnell Cancer Center during the height of the pandemic. Since Polly was unable to be with her during treatments due to COVID restrictions, the team at Tunnell became a critical part of Char’s support system. She shared how wonderful everyone was – from the greeters to the front-desk team to the medical staff. They demonstrated kindness and compassion daily.

In particular, Polly recounted one nurse who became a friend to Char, Morgan Iseman. Char spoke often of Morgan, who helped her navigate the sometimes complicated and frustrating process of cancer treatment. Morgan and others on the infusion team served as companions during the long days of infusion treatments, which Char sometimes received multiple times a week.

Polly was eager to meet Morgan and her colleagues on the infusion team to express her appreciation for their exceptional care of Char. Even more importantly, she wanted to do something special for them to show her gratitude for their care of her wife when Polly couldn’t be there by her side. Knowing that nurses rarely ask for anything, Polly opted to support a special project to renovate the break room for the team at Tunnell Cancer Center.

At the completion of the project, Polly and Char’s friend Sharyn Santel were able to join the team at Tunnell Cancer Center for a well-deserved celebration of the excellent care Char received from its nursing team.

“We are so honored and thankful that Polly decided to give back to our team in memory of Char,” Iseman said. “It’s a beautiful way to memorialize Char, and it’s stories like this that inspire us to keep doing what we do every day for our patients.”

Beebe’s Tunnell Cancer Center and South Coastal Cancer Center never closed a day during the pandemic. Nurses on the front lines, particularly during the pandemic, were nothing short of amazing. Char’s story is a very real example of the incredible, daily impact nurses have on Beebe patients and their families. I am grateful to Polly for allowing me to help share the story of Char’s experience.

As a community-based, not-for-profit healthcare system, Beebe Healthcare depends on the generous support of the community it serves. To make a gift to celebrate the excellent care you or a loved one has received, visit Beebe Medical Foundation at or call 302-644-2900. Want to share your story? Contact Amanda Neal at

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