Marisol Lassalle, LCSW, and Katie Henry, LCSW
Marisol Lassalle, LCSW, and Katie Henry, LCSW, are clinical social workers within the Pediatric Hematology & Oncology Program and the Bone Marrow Transplant unit. Katie has been in her current role for almost six years, and Marisol will celebrate 10 years this July. They both work very closely with the pediatric hematologists and oncologists, as well as other team members, to manage their full patient caseloads.
Marisol and Katie first meet with patients and their families during the initial diagnosis. They provide support throughout the entire journey and even years post treatment. One of their favorite parts of caring for the pediatric patient population is the relationships they build over several years. They view themselves as “emotional first aid kits” and “life organizers” during this most vulnerable time when a family’s life is turned upside-down.
This involves providing an array of services; ranging from psychotherapy for patients and their family members, to advocacy and case management. “We always strive to ‘meet the family where they are’ and make their priorities, our priorities,” said Katie. Marisol added, “We partner with many incredible nonprofit organizations who are filled with kind and generous people, and together, we find ways to bring joy to children experiencing life threatening illnesses.”
As Marisol approaches 10 years in this role, she feels honored and humbled to be with families and their children while they are facing a very vulnerable time in their life. She commented, “It is a priceless and inspiring experience. You get to see the strength of the human spirit, fueled by love. Working in this setting has helped me to strive to be the best person that I can be as well as to do the best I can to be helpful to others.”
Katie feels that her job is more of a calling. “I wake up every day and feel so motivated to be a part of the positivity and hope. People ask all the time, ‘How do you do the work you do, without becoming sad or hopeless?’ Being invited into a family’s world during such an intense period, and being in the role of alleviating some of their suffering, is extremely meaningful to me. And being able to follow our patients as they finish treatment, graduate school, get jobs, and even have babies at times, is incredibly rewarding.”
Connie Nicolosi, LCSW, Social Work Manager, commented, “Having a child with cancer is a significant stressor for the patients and their families. Marisol and Katie connect with families at diagnosis and follow them throughout their treatment and beyond. After a child’s diagnosis, the family will never be the same, and it is Marisol and Katie that work with the family to create and maintain a ‘new normal’ way of life. They are passionate about their roles and will always go that extra step to connect families to resources.”