Pediatric Nursing Award Given to Outstanding Nurses at Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in 2017

ATLANTA (June 2016) – The Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta recently announced that four pediatric nurses, Dawn Stys, RN; Sonia Hoey, RN; Elizabeth Driskell, RN; and Melissa Gleason, RN, have been presented with the prestigious Laura Snitzer-Boozer Nursing Award. The award honors nurses who have demonstrated professional excellence and leadership in hematology/oncology care, as well as provides financial support for continued education in the field of oncology.

“This award is humbling, and I am so flattered to know my peers nominated me,” said Dawn. “Pediatric oncology nursing is a part of who I am, and I cannot imagine ever doing anything else. I have done this long enough to have seen a lot of the kids grow up, get married and have children of their own. I am even fortunate enough to work alongside some of the patients that I care for, who have become nurses.”

The award is given in memory of Laura Snitzer-Boozer, an Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center nurse who died unexpectedly from a brain aneurysm in 1999. After Laura’s death, many individuals, including close friends of the family, donated funds to create the Laura Snitzer-Boozer Nursing Fund for Continued Education. The four winners will receive a scholarship to attend a nursing conference of their choice in honor of Laura’s strong commitment to nursing education.

“Receiving the Laura Snitzer-Boozer Nursing Award is such an honor,” said Sonia. “For as long as I can remember, I knew I wanted to be a pediatric registered nurse. I love the relationships with patients and families that being a disease-based nurse provides. I work with an intelligent, compassionate and amazing team.”

“For me, nursing is more than a job,” said Elizabeth. “I feel so blessed that I actually have a career doing what I am so passionate about: loving and serving others.”

 “I am just so incredibly honored to receive the Laura Snitzer-Boozer Nursing Award,” said Melissa. “I am very fortunate to work with a group of nurses who are so dedicated to providing excellent care to our patients and families, are very professional, have outstanding clinical expertise and are a lot of fun.”

About the award winners:

Dawn Stys, RN, BSN

Dawn began her career at Children’s in 1995 as a pediatric oncology nurse at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. She started at Children’s after earning her nursing degree at Georgia State University. She views her patients as teachers that have taught her about life and bravery. Dawn lives in Johns Creek, Ga., with her husband and two Great Danes. She is a huge University of Georgia Bulldog football fan.

Sonia Hoey, RN, BSN

Sonia graduated from Georgia Southern University in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science in nursing. She worked in general pediatrics in Savannah, Ga., followed by travel nurse assignments in Hawaii, San Diego, Calif., and Macon, Ga., before finding her “home" at Children's in 2006. She worked inpatient neurology and then joined the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders team as an outpatient hematology registered nurse in 2010. Originally from Warner Robins, Ga., she now lives in Decatur, Ga., with her husband and two children.

Elizabeth Driskell, RN, BSN

Elizabeth earned her nursing degree from Emory University School of Nursing. She was raised in a family of nurses and always knew she wanted to be a nurse. It wasn’t until she encountered a Children’s patient’s father and heard about his son’s journey with cancer and a blood and marrow transplant (BMT) that she decided to go into pediatric oncology nursing. She began working at Children’s in 2014. The Decatur, Ga., native now lives in Midtown Atlanta.

Melissa Gleason, RN, BSN, CPHON

Melissa began her career at Children’s in 2004 as a pediatric neurological oncology nurse at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. Being a pediatric oncology nurse is the most rewarding job she’s ever had. She earned her nursing degree from the University of Delaware in 1982. Melissa grew up in White Plains, N.Y., and now lives in Roswell, Ga., with her husband and son. 

For more information:

Allyson Wright

Public Relations, Manager


About The Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s

The Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is a national leader among childhood cancer, hematology, and blood and marrow transplant programs, serving children and young adults. Recognized as one of the top childhood cancer centers in the country by U.S. News & World Report, the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center cares for more than 500 newly diagnosed cancer patients and treats nearly 2,000 unique sickle cell disease patients each year. Our program offers patients access to more than 380 clinical trials, including 28 innovative Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center investigator-initiated trials. Visit for more information.

About Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

As the only freestanding pediatric healthcare system in Georgia, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is the trusted leader in caring for kids. The not-for-profit organization’s mission is to make kids better today and healthier tomorrow through more than 60 pediatric specialties and programs, top healthcare professionals, and leading research and technology. Children’s is one of the largest pediatric clinical care providers in the country, managing more than one million patient visits annually at three hospitals, Marcus Autism Center, the Center for Advanced Pediatrics, urgent care centers and neighborhood locations. Consistently ranked among the top children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta has impacted the lives of kids in Georgia, across the United States and around the world for more than 100 years thanks to generous support from the community.

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