Best Article

City of Hope treats souls while saving lives

The story of a California bishop’s leukemia diagnosis sums up the inspirational work of a world-renowned cancer treatment center.

Hospitals are full of compelling stories, not all of them with happy endings. City of Hope, a California cancer treatment center, found both in the story of Bishop J. Jon Bruno, whose leukemia diagnosis and successful treatment was the subject of a profile in the hospital’s blog Breakthroughs in 2013. Combining faith, hope, and action, the story is a worthy winner of the Best Article category in PR Daily’s 2014 Nonprofit PR Awards.

The article, written by senior media relations specialist Roberta Nichols, starts with a bit of a spoiler, describing Bruno’s return home after his lifesaving treatment. But it’s nonetheless filled with drama, detailing the bishop’s previous careers in pro football and as an Episcopal priest. One moving anecdote recounts Bruno’s attempt to save the life of a 2-year-old car accident victim:

    “I started giving him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. I put my hand behind his head—and all I got was mush. He just would not breathe. I said, ‘Damn it, God, if you’re here, make this child breathe!’ And he started breathing.”

An unlikely prayer for a future bishop, perhaps, but it tells readers a lot about Bruno’s approach to life and faith.

The article exemplifies City of Hope’s mission of enabling patients to return to health, and to their families, careers, and passions. The story’s happy conclusion demonstrates that lifesaving results depend on superlative research and clinical expertise, but also on something less tangible: the commitment to treating the whole patient as a unique individual.

On average, a typical Breakthroughs post generates about 30 Facebook shares. Bishop Bruno’s story generated unprecedented engagement in the center’s social media audience, shared by more than 800 people through Facebook. It’s a testament to the work of Nichols and also Denise Heady, who edited the video of Bruno that Nichols filmed to accompany the article.

Read the article and see the video at

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