April Fritz: In Memoriam | Blog
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When April announced her recent battle with cancer, it was no surprise to me that she turned it into a learning opportunity for others.

April Fritz: In Memoriam

Mon, Sep 25, 2017  -  Comments (2)  -   Posted by Toni Hare

I met April Fritz in the early 80s – she was helping registrars understand complex topics even then. For me, it happened to be that she was helping me learn a new cancer registry software that was a huge shift from the manual way I was used to doing my work. We hit it off that day and began a professional and personal relationship that would last 30+ years.

When April announced her recent battle with cancer, it was no surprise to me that she turned it into a learning opportunity for others. She was a life learner who dedicated her career to mentoring cancer registrars and doing whatever she could to advance the cancer registry profession. So if cancer was going to touch her personally, she would use it to teach a conference full of registrars how to code her particular case properly. Even in the doctor’s office she wore her registrar’s hat. Making sure she voiced her opinion and used her years of experience to weigh in on decisions regarding her treatment.

At CHAMPS, we were lucky enough to benefit from April Fritz’s expertise and passion. Most recently, she educated our entire team of cancer registry specialists from all over the country during an oncology retreat here in Cleveland. And before that, she was the highlight of several TNM Coding education sessions our team attended. She even led a boot camp to personally train seven of our top registrars.

April Fritz was a vivacious, bright, generous member of our cancer registry community. She left an indelible imprint on myself and, I think it’s safe to say, everyone she met in our community. Thirty-plus years was certainly not enough time to know her, but I am grateful for every moment we had together.

To honor her legacy and carry on her spirit of mentorship, I plan to slow down today and be more intentional about sharing my knowledge with the newest members of the cancer registry profession. Will you join me in this tribute to April Fritz?

Visit April's professional website for more information on her life and legacy.

Posted in Oncology Industry


Megan Coriell said:

9/25/2017 3:41 PM

In fall of 2008 April was on-site at CHAMPS for five days. She covered registry basics, an abstracting boot camp of sorts, as well as the major body systems, anatomy and staging of those sites. I was pregnant at the time and was uncomfortable in my maternity clothes. She encouraged me to wear sweat pants because, “If you aren’t comfortable, you can’t learn." While I didn’t wear sweat pants the next day, she showed up in some to make me feel better.

Jim Irwin said:

11/15/2017 10:58 AM

Toni - Thank you for the tribute to April Fritz. Your remembrance touched upon the simple fact that April never just taught cancer registrars, she connected with them. She understood what we do (because first and foremost she was a cancer registrar) and worked diligently to make sure those she taught really understood what being a good cancer registrar was all about. Everyone in our field of work is better at what they do because of April. Her legacy lives on through all of the trainers and educators she mentored during her registry career. Her life is a great example to all of us. We all miss her dearly and should strive to be more like her. She truly was "the cancer registrars best friend."

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