The DAISY Award


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Background: Bonnie and Mark Barnes established The DAISY Award in honor of their son, Patrick, who died of the auto-immune disease Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura (ITP) at age 33. DAISY stands for Diseases Attacking the Immune System. The award recognizes the exquisite care nurses provided to Patrick and to all patients/families.

Reach: Over 3,900 healthcare facilities and academia in all 50 US states plus 22 other countries!

How the DAISY Award started: (excerpt copied from

In late 1999, at the age of 33, Patrick Barnes awoke with some blood blisters in his mouth. Having survived Hodgkins Disease twice, he was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with the auto-immune disease, ITP (Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura). Pat and his wife, Tena, had just had their first child two months before he became sick.

His father, Mark Barnes said, "We are so blessed that we were able to spend the eight weeks of his hospitalization with him and his family. During those weeks, we experienced the best of Nursing. We were there to see the clinical skill that dealt with his very complex medical situation, the fast thinking of nurses who saved his life more than once, and that nursing excellence that took years to hone to the best of the profession. But frankly, as a patient family, we rather expected that Pat would have great clinical care. That was why he was in the hospital. What we did not expect was the way his nurses delivered that care - the kindness and compassion they gave Pat and all of us in his family every day. We were awed by the way the nurses touched him and spoke with him, even when he was on a ventilator and totally sedated. The way they informed and educated us eased our minds. They truly helped us through the darkest hours of our lives, with soft voices of hope and strong loving hugs that to this day, we still feel.

"Just days after he died, we began talking about what we would do to help fill the giant hole in our hearts that Pat’s passing had left. As we discussed what to do in Patrick’s memory, we knew that first and foremost, we needed to say Thank You for the gift’s nurses give their patients and families every day, just as we had experienced.

"We created The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses. Our goal was to ensure that nurses know how deserving they are of our society's profound respect for the education, training, brainpower, and skill they put into their work, and especially for the caring with which they deliver their care."

Mass General collaborates with the DAISY Foundation to provide recognition of the clinical skill and the compassion nurses provide to patients and families all year long by selecting DAISY honorees quarterly. Nurses who are elected as DAISY Award recipients are celebrated by Mass General leadership through a DAISY Award event on their unit where they receive a hand-carved “Healer’s Touch” sculpture, an honoree pin, a banner, and cinnamon buns for their respective work area.

All nurses who are nominated for the DAISY Award are recognized with a nomination pin.

Immune thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) is a blood disorder. With this disease, you have a lower amount of platelets than normal in your blood. Platelets are blood cell fragments that help with blood clotting. Having fewer platelets can cause easy bruising, bleeding gums, and internal bleeding.

Learn more about ITP