Nicole Wallace

Oct. 11, 2021
A photo of Nicole Wallace
Nicole Wallace, a pharmacy liaison at UCHealth Cancer Care – Memorial Hospital Central, sends birthday cards to her patients. Photo by Tom Hutton, UCHealth.

Liaison sends birthday wishes to ill patients

As a pharmacy liaison, Nicole Wallace helps patients at UCHealth Cancer Care – Memorial Hospital Central navigate insurance co-pays and prescription renewals.

Wallace embraces making connections to help patients afford their therapies, especially because cancer treatments may be expensive. She also coordinates hospital visits with prescription renewals so elderly (and often mobility-impaired) patients make only one trip.

While finances are the biggest challenge for many of her patients, Wallace makes sure she cares for their emotional side, too. With her own money, she ordered 100 birthday cards from an online retailer to send to patients.

“I just wanted to do something for them, something different,” Wallace said of her decision to send a card to each of her patients within a few days of their birthday.

Wallace purposely selected blank cards and adds personal messages for those suffering from serious illnesses.

“A card that says ‘Happy Birthday and many more’ seemed both generic and insensitive to what these people are going through,” Wallace said. “That’s why I picked blank cards and hand write a note.”

Her messages are simple:

  • “Sincerely wishing you the best of celebrations on this wonderful day of yours. May your home be filled with all that you need to be comfortable in life. Happy birthday!”
  • “I wish your birthday will be defined by love, joy and happiness. I hope that you will be graced with the strength to accomplish all that you aspire in your days ahead. Happy birthday!”
  • “Here is a wish for your birthday. May you receive whatever you ask for, may you find whatever you seek. Happy birthday.”
  • “Warmest wishes for a very happy birthday.”

The reaction from her patients humbled Wallace while reinforcing her decision.

“I heard from one patient who told me mine was the only card she got on her birthday,” Wallace said. “On one hand, I felt horrible that she only got one. On the other, I was glad she got something.”

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About the author

Tom Hutton is a veteran communications professional who enjoys making complex subjects relatable to people from all walks of life. Prior to joining UCHealth in 2019, he taught and led public communications at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Previously, he led communications at the University of Kansas and was a reporter and manager for newspapers in Kansas, Iowa and California. In these roles, he earned recognition from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, the University of Colorado and various press associations.

Tom earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from KU and a master’s degree in public administration from CU. He enjoys college sports, vintage cars, cooking Kansas City-style barbeques, skiing and hiking.

He and his wife Julie have two daughters and a son.