“We believe that Grace was given to us and taken from us for a reason,” say Tony and Jaclyn Doffin on their organizational website, Hope in Grace. “We strive to find meaning in such an unthinkable loss.”
The Doffins lost their 10-month-old daughter, Grace, in 2009 from complications associated with a heart defect. Soon after, they formed Hope in Grace to raise money for pediatric cardiology research at the University of Minnesota, to promote excellence in education in the field of neonatal and pediatric medical care, and to reward exceptional medical personnel.
Out of this mission, they established the Grace Doffin Award to honor intensive care nurses who families have nominated for providing exceptional care.
This year, the Doffins selected Jessica Perry, a NICU nurse at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, to receive the award. “The family that nominated Jess commended her for providing care that truly went above and beyond what was expected,” said Jaclyn Doffin. “That’s our goal. To recognize the nurses that families say are making a difference.”
The Doffins surprised Perry at work to let her know that she had won the award. “I can’t put into words how it feels to receive this award,” she said. “I never considered myself outstanding; I always thought those were the people you see on the news or read about! I look forward to being able to keep the memory of Grace alive by providing the best possible care every day.”
Recipients of the Grace Doffin Award receive $600 for use toward continuing nursing education. This year, 30 nurses were nominated by patient families.