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Giving: Nurse organizes networking event to strengthen professional connections

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Mizellore Lexima has several abbreviations behind her name, signifying the nursing degrees she’s obtained.

She was a certified nursing assistant before becoming a registered nurse after earning an associate degree from Virginia Western Community College and a bachelor’s degree from James Madison University. She also was the first RN to graduate from Total Action for Progress’ education and employment program.

Lexima, an oncology/infusion nurse who administers chemotherapy and immunotherapy, finds nursing to be rewarding because the profession allows her to connect with others — often at their worst times — “uplifting them physically or mentally.”

Through nursing, she added “I mastered resilience ... I dived into my beliefs and values, changing them if necessary so I could verify that all my patients received the best care I could give.”

She praises nurses, acknowledging that they are plentiful in Roanoke, “and provide high level extraordinary care.”

Yet, Lexima, who will be attending JMU’s nurse practitioner program this fall, wants the nursing community to be more engaged.

She has organized a May 21 Coffee Chat, a networking event that’s also billed as a Nurses’ Week celebration. The 2-to-4 p.m. event will be at the Crafteria, 16 West Church Ave. S.W., in downtown Roanoke, and features Lexima, Samahir Elhassan, a rehabilitation nurse, and Alisha Vines, a geriatric nurse, as hosts.

“It is known that professional networking is crucially connected to quality patient care,” said Lexima, whose goal also is to encourage and inspire prospective nurses.

In a in a letter seeking support for the event, she wrote that the afternoon would bring together nurses on all levels.

“To strengthen our network of nurses, we must create a nursing atmosphere that encourages personal development,” she wrote, adding that the event “will set the foundation to further engage Roanoke’s nurse community and help foster the professional image of nursing.”

Through the nursing event, Lexima, a member of the American Cannabis Nurses Association, said she hopes to create mentorship opportunities, connect with future nurses and help strengthen the impact of the nursing community.

For more information on the May 21 networking event, email Lexima at

Friendship Living honors volunteersTo celebrate National Volunteer Week in April, Friendship Living, a senior living and rehabilitation community, presented awards to six while honoring all volunteers at a special breakfast.

“Friendship appreciates all of the time and assistance of our dedicated volunteers,” said President and CEO Joe Hoff. “We appreciate their personal commitment to serve our residents.”

Louann Howell, who has been volunteering at several Friendship facilities since 2018, was named the 2022 Volunteer of the Year.

“Louann comes to Friendship Health and Rehabilitation Center North several times a month, playing the cello and bringing her Chihuahua, Sassy, for pet therapy,” said Tiffany Brown, the center’s activities director. “The residents love to see Louann and Sassy. After each performance with her cello, Louann ends with ‘You are My Sunshine’. Not only does she brighten the resident’s day, but the staff as well.”

Other honorees are: Betty Perdue, Accountability Award; Donna Hornsby, Compassion Award; Bright Aku, Positivity Award; Kathy Ruble, Respectfulness Award; and Deron Brown, Team Work Award.

Friendship opened its first building in 1966 and has grown to offer the full continuum of healthcare, including an adult day care center, home care services, an on-site pharmacy, salons and full-service restaurant and bar. Visit for more information.

Family Service fundraiser setMay is Mental Health Awareness Month, and Family Service of Roanoke Valley is holding a spring fundraiser to support its programs.

FSRV will hold its second annual Bike, Car & Truck Show on May 14 in the Salem Civic Center parking lot from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.

The entry fee is $25 per motorcycle, car, or truck; and participants may choose for their vehicle to be judged or not. The event is free to spectators.

The event will include music, food trucks, vendors, awards for participants, activities for the kids, and a raffle with prizes donated by local businesses. It’s being presented by InFirst Federal Credit Union, and sponsored by Wisler Plumbing & Air, Trustpoint Insurance, Old Virginia Outpost, Insane Audio, and WDBJ7/WZBJ24.

For more information, visit or find the event page on Facebook: Questions also may be sent to

Contact JoAnne Poindexter at


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