Margaret Rhoads

A Lake Highlands oncology nurse is looking to make history in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society‘s Man & Woman of the Year fundraising contest by becoming the first nurse to win the honor.

“Historically (the winner) has never been a nurse,” Margaret Rhoads said. “We really need to make an impact on the nursing side.”

Rhoads is the nurse manager for Texas Oncology at Texas Health Dallas, 8200 Walnut Hill Lane, and has been for 13 years. She manages an outpatient cancer center with 36 employees, including 10 medical oncologists and a few surgeons. Before working at Texas Health Dallas, Rhoads spent 11 years at the Texas Oncology branch at Baylor University’s Medical Center in downtown Dallas.

She is competing against six other women and four men to be named the Man or Woman of the Year for the North Texas chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Her goal is to raise $100,000 for the society, which is the leading fundraiser in cancer research. The society also advocates for cures and provides financial support to patients in need.

Rhoads was first introduced to oncology when she took an elective in the subject while earning her degree at Baylor University’s nursing school. She was hooked from the start.

“There’s a lot of things you know you don’t want to do in nursing school,” she said. But oncology wasn’t one for her.

She went on to be one of the first nurses hired by Texas Oncology straight out of college and ended up working with one of the physicians that taught the Baylor elective course, Rhoads said. She worked as a clinic nurse for three years and then became a clinic manager.

Donations can be made to Rhoads campaign online until 6:30 p.m. June 8. The award winner will be announced that night at a celebratory banquet.

“I hope donors understand it doesn’t matter how big or how small the donation is,” Rhoads said. “They may be the very one that makes the difference.”