Capital Region Heart Ball to honor cardiac nurses

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    ALBANY, N.Y. (WRGB) - "I've very proud of her. My entire family is very proud of her," said Mark Kelsey.

    Norine Kelsey's son, Mark, calls his mother an inspiration. Following in her footsteps, he now works in the same hospital, a cardiac nurse himself.

    "Not a lot of people have the opportunity to professionally work with one of their parents, and it's definitely been one of the highlights of my career,” Mark said.

    It's not just her son's life Norine's helped change. It’s also the thousands of patients and families she's worked with in a career spanning almost 50 years. On Saturday, she'll be honored with the Donald LeDuke Heart Hero award.

    “I always put myself into their shoes. And think, how would I like to be treated?” Norine said.

    It's a selfless attitude shared by other cardiac nurses we met at St. Peter's.

    “They're usually unsung and unappreciated,” said Michael Finegan, President of Acute Care at St. Peter’s Health Partners. “We often recognize physicians and community leaders but the chance to get the front line healthcare worker the opportunity to be recognized is really important. “

    Nurses Rita Nelson and Robert Dobski will receive honorable mentions at the Heart Ball. Both have seen amazing strides in cardiac care over the years and are excited for what's next.

    “I've been doing this 39 years. Years ago, a lot of these people wouldn't have made it,” Rita said. “Many more people have a longer life.”

    “I look at it as an award for all of us because we all do a great job and it's a team effort. You couldn't do it on your own,” Robert said.

    Norine's very modest about the honor she's receiving. Her nomination letter calling her a lifeline for cardiac patients ... there to help pick up the pieces after the doctor visits and procedures are over.

    “It has made me sit back and think about my career and what I've actually done over the last several years. It's kind of humbled me if nothing else. I'm very honored,” she said.

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