San Juan Medical Foundation’s
Every day, friends join friends to walk their way to fitness and to encourage each other along the way. Sometimes they walk side by side and at other times one in front of the other, taking turns in the lead.
On September 12, 2015 nearly 500 people joined to take steps for the
greater good of our community.
Last year marked the 35th year that people of every age and every walk
of life gathered to complete the annual San Juan Medical Foundation’s
The walkathon is the Foundation’s premier annual event and it is the fundraising effort that supports the Connelly Hospitality House and the
San Juan Medical Foundation’s mission to enhance the health of our community. “Each year rain or shine, hundreds of compassionate and generous people gather to pay tribute to friends and loved ones who have
or are experiencing cancer treatment. With every stride, they make a difference in the health of our community,” said Brenda Shepherd, SJMF Executive Director.
10,000 steps is approximately 5 miles.ﾠThat equates to the Surgeon
General’s recommendation to accumulate 30 minutes of activity each day.
By completing the walkathon’s 6 mile route, participants easily exceeded
their daily goal while ensuring that patients and families who travel to Farmington for cancer care will have a safe and secure home away from
home at the Connelly House.
The San Juan Medical Foundation thanks each and every person who joins the Foundation’s efforts to enhance health care in our region. Each and
every effort is needed and very much appreciated.
Karen Ellsbury Story
Karen Ellsbury Story
Local artist, Karen Ellsbury joined October, 2015 activities in honor of her
best friend, SJRMC Maggie Fry, RN. “I am so grateful for the advancements
in medicine that have given me this lovely friend,” says Karen. “We all need each other. We are a sisterhood.”
On September 30, Karen had her hair died a vibrant hot pink. “I proudly
wore this do (hairdo) as a crown of love to pay tribute to my friend Maggie
and women everywhere who are experiencing cancer treatment.”
Later, she bravely shaved her head. “As women grow older, we learn to embrace our inner beauty. Freeing myself of hair allowed me to focus on
more important things.” Ellsbury said. “People asked me if I was
undergoing chemotherapy. I answered, ‘no, I am honoring those who are’,”
Thank you, Karen Ellsbury, for your works of art and heart.
Cancer Nurse Navigator
Meet Fran Robinson,SJRMC RN / Cancer Nurse Navigator– a nurse who will helps you find your way. Fran stands ready to meet with cancer patients to answer questions about surgery, treatment and recovery. She will explain how a multidisciplinary team (pathologists, surgeons, radiation and medical oncologists, nutritionists and primary care physicians) assess patients’ needs and how together they develop a comprehensive care plan. Patients may tour the resource center established by the Pure Bliss Family Foundation. The library offers free literature from the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute. This literature covers a variety of topics including: types of cancer and coping with a diagnosis. The library also serves as a resource center for the family. Women have access to the wig room where dozens of quality wigs and accessories are provided by the American Cancer Society (ACS) and individuals. Nurse Robinson introduces patients to the American Cancer Society’s “Look Good; Feel Better” program and luncheon. Led by local cosmetologists, this program teaches beauty techniques to help cancer patients manage the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment. “What if … “ “If complications arise, there is a full complement of healthcare professionals who will be with you every step of the way. Whether that means you need help with diet, nutrition, social services, spiritual guidance, post-surgery rehabilitation, support groups or financial counseling,” Fran advises. “Utilizing a variety of options and referral services, we all work together to ensure that your
outcome is the best it can be,” she added.
Life may now have returned to normal, but it will never be again for a local wife and mother. ﾠSummer, 2014, Nora Foutz saw her primary physician for the reoccurring breast pain she had been experiencing.
At 39, a precautionary mammogram was scheduled. After undergoing the diagnostic procedure on the right breast, the nurse casually asked if Nora wanted to check her left breast, as well. ﾠ“Since you’re here…”
A suspicious mass was found on the left breast, a mass that would have otherwise gone undetected. ﾠ“It was a fluke. If it wasn’t for the nurse being proactive and suggesting looking at both breasts, I wouldn’t have known. --for years maybe.”
An immediate ultrasound was ordered and then a biopsy scheduled for the following week. ﾠAfter an agonizing waiting period, the doctor called with test results. Nora’s (and every woman’s) worst fear was confirmed— “It’s malignant. ﾠIts cancer.” Invasive ductile carcinoma.
“I absolutely went to pieces. I was terrified,” she recalled. “I couldn’t stop thinking about my kids. There were so many what ifs.” ﾠAs a mother to three young children, the diagnosis put Nora in the 11% of women under the age of 45 diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014, according to the CDC.
After the diagnosis, Nora weighed options. Lumpectomy, mastectomy, radiation. She opted for a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. “I was willing to do whatever it took to ensure that we would not have to deal with this ever again.”
The surgery was scheduled within a month. ﾠIn the meantime, she mobilized. “I stayed as busy as possible, researching, organizing my house, freezing meals and trying to anticipate my family’s needs.”
The morning of the surgery, she remembers being nervous but also being ready to get through it. ﾠThe subsequent recovery was painful, but Nora was determined to heal and to get back to normalcy for her family.
“The hardest part of recovery was not being about to snuggle my kids and comfort them. The thing people don’t realize is that hugs really hurt. Don’t hug breast cancer patients.”
The biggest relief came when post-surgery test results indicated her lymph nodes were cancer-free and she would not have to endure radiation or chemotherapy. ﾠShe would not lose her beautiful curly black hair.
“It’s one day at a time. But after surviving this experience, I am so grateful for every single day.”
Spice Girls (and Boys) share
Season's Greetings with Connelly Hospitality House
"Why, it's sugar and spice and everything nice," announced Leslie Fitz as
she opened the door at Connelly Hospitality House just before Christmas.
Who was at the door, you ask?? The Broten cousins - all six of them
Katie and Mason, Dawson and Valerie, Dylan and Bella did not exchange Christmas presents with each other. Instead, they used their money to buy spices for the Connelly House pantry.
The youngsters quickly made themselves right at home by congregating in
the library for a card game while Bella rode the wooden pony.
Then Leslie led the children in a tour of the house. Their questions were intuitive: "Why do you have so many plants?" How many people can stay here?" "Where are they now?" "Where are the kids?" Leslie patiently
answered each question. Soon, the cousins understood why the Connelly House is so important to cancer patients and their families.