Emergency Department

It was the way Sparrow Nurses cared for her cancer-stricken 4-year-old brother that made Debbie Lopez want to be a Nurse herself.

She was inspired by their gentleness and empathy, not just toward the little boy battling leukemia, but for her entire family. "It made me want to give that care to others," says Lopez, a Sparrow Nurse for six years.

"Nobody asks to be here—now they're put in this traumatic situation. I want to help make them feel better in anyway that I can."

Her biggest challenge: Trying to understand the Patient needs "besides the medical part." She unfailingly uses humor, spirituality, and a friendly demeanor to be an effective Caregiver.

And her brother? He is now 23 and leading a full life as a Michigan State University student and a community Volunteer.