In Memoriam: Alison Won

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Alison Won and daughter

Remembering Alison Won (BSN, ’87)

By Kathryn Harkavy Larson (BSN, ’87), PH, RN

I first met Alison in one of the mile-long book lines at SF State the day before classes began in 1984. It was serendipitous when we discovered we both were first-year nursing students. From that day forward, a strong friendship developed that would last almost 33 years, until she suddenly passed away in 2016 at age 55.

Alison was my dearest friend in life, a sister to me, and an auntie to my daughter. A thoughtful woman with an unstoppable enthusiastic zest for life and a whirlwind of energy at every age, Alison had a warm, winning smile and a signature penetrable laugh. She was an accomplished multi-tasker and a patient listener loved by friends, family, coworkers and patients.

Like many of you, Alison worked hard and patiently to make her dream of becoming an RN materialize. During her senior year she rotated in the ICU at California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC). In fact, Alison would spend her entire 29-year career at CPMC and was a stellar and beloved nurse rotating through TICU, TCU, and Telemetry. The girl with the biggest heart became devoted to cardiac care. That signature smile of hers combined with her innate leadership skills reassured and endeared her to hundreds of patients and coworkers.

Alison's proudest accomplishment in life was raising her daughter, whom she adopted as an infant from China as a single mom. A devoted tireless mother who enthusiastically ensured her daughter was exposed to and participated in many activities, Alison never spent a night away from her until the day she passed. Her daughter was then 10 years old.

I know what it is like to struggle financially throughout college and juggle numerous jobs, while still working hard to achieve good grades and take pride in clinicals. My friendship with Alison, along with my wonderful and varied nursing career, has molded me into the person I am today. I am fortunate to have had both!

I have set up a scholarship fund in Alison’s name, and it is my hope that this scholarship makes life a bit less stressful for students as they pursue their passion, and that they will remember Alison Won as they embark on their nursing careers.