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A veteran nurse who works in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Saint Michael’s Medical Center was honored with the DAISY Foundation Award, which honors the super-human work nurses do for patients and families every day.

Cynthia Villanueava of Sayreville, who has worked as a nurse at Saint Michael’s since 1983, was described by colleagues as an amazing role model for other nurses in the MICU.

“She is the embodiment of what a nurse should be,” said Nancy Bisco-Flora, the chief nursing officer at Saint Michael’s. “Her care and compassion for patients, families and her colleagues serves as a prime example of the outstanding nursing that takes place at Saint Michael’s Medical Center every day.”

The DAISY (an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System) Foundation was started in Glen Allen, Calif., by family members of J. Patrick Barnes, who died from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a little-known but not uncommon auto-immune disease.

As a way of thanking Barnes’s nurses, his family established the award program.

The DAISY Award ceremony, held before colleagues, honored Villanueava with the “Extraordinary Nurse” certificate, which reads: “In deep appreciation of all you do, who you are, and the incredibly meaningful difference you make in the lives of so many people.”

Villanueava also received a DAISY Award pin, a hand-carved serpentine stone sculpture, entitled “A Healer’s Touch,” and of course, daisies.

To read more about the DAISY award, please visit