After losing his wife to cancer nearly a decade ago, Jacob Epstein of Bonners Ferry, decided to carry on her spirit by acknowledging those who help fight in the battle against cancer. This year, Maggi McElfresh, social worker at Kootenai Clinic Cancer Services, won the award for her dedication and compassion toward patients and their families. Maggi was nominated by Pam Thompson, the director of Social Services for Kootenai Health.

Pam said Maggi goes above and beyond her duties as a social worker. Not only does she help comfort patients and their families, help them find and understand various insurance plans and financial assistance, and navigate them through the complexities of cancer treatment, but she is often seen volunteering her time at support groups, cancer outreach events and serving on community boards.

“Maggi is a knowledgeable, thorough, resource for our patients and their families,” Pam said. “She continues to amaze us with her devotion and compassion.”

Former Kootenai Health general surgeon, James Curtis, M.D., won the award in 2013.  Dr. Curtis was nominated  for his compassionate care and his “unparalleled sensitivity” for cancer patients.