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Hope. Help. Access.

A Doctor...

A Patient

Phelps County Regional Medical Center

PO Box 261, Rolla, Missouri 65402 573-458-7946 •

20 1 Aw 2 B ar rea en st es C s I an ss ce ue r

Dr. Edward Downey

Breast Cancer Awareness Events October Breast Cancer Awareness Month Sales Starting



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1300 South Bishop Rolla, MO 65401 573-364-5495 1-800-245-6544

Cardio for a Cure October 22, 2012 6:00-8:00PM

$10 donation to attend 100% of the proceeds to benefit the Breast Center at PCRMC BOOTCAMP ZUMBA


Foundation in Focus|Fall 2012


Thoughts 4 Opening How facing your fears can save your life.

6 My First Mammogram

Follow Amy Wilson, Senior Training Specialist at PCRMC, on her journey through her first mammogram.

Center Facts 8 Breast Helen Litz, PCRMC Breast Center Coordinator, shares insightful information about the PCRMC Comprehensive Breast Center.

10 From Surviving to Thriving

the Board 14 Meet Meet our board members and hear from President Ted Day.

18 Abbie Darnell Update

Catch up with Abbie regarding her progress and future plans.

20 Hospice Poker Run Recap

Share the success of our second annual poker run.

Your Calendars 23 Mark Take note so you don’t miss out on the upcoming events and support groups at PCRMC.

PCRMC’s Wanda Dobson tells the story of her breast cancer diagnosis and how she got through it.

Special Feature

The Doctor Becomes the Patient


Edward Downey, DO, shares the importance of getting screened early for colon cancer.

Foundation In Focus | Fall 2012



opening thoughts

Do it Afraid

What does “Do It Afraid” mean to you? Personally that has become a life motto for me. There are many moments in life that can appear to be very scary; whether the fear is real or perceived doesn’t make a difference in my mind. I believe that each person is unique, but I also believe that we are all in this crazy thing called life together and we are to help one another. If I can share my bag of crazy, and help one person take a step in the right direction to better health then it’s worth it.

What is a fear producing moment for me and what does that look like? Two years ago during a self-breast examination I found a lump. My first thought was literally to lie and tell myself I didn’t feel anything. I waited for another month and checked again after my menstrual cycle and it was still there! I had a choice to make; I could either ignore it or have it checked out. For the next few months I chose to ignore it... or so I thought. I realized I wasn’t sleeping because the thought that I could have breast cancer was always nagging in the back of my mind. At the urging of my husband I decided to make an appointment to get a mammogram. My bag of crazy was starting to affect my family relationships because subconsciously, I was worried about that lump. I called the PCRMC Comprehensive Breast Center and got my first mammogram scheduled. The good news was my appointment was only a few days out. During those few days I talked to many women, sharing my fears about the “dreaded” mammogram. All my lady friends reassured me that it would be quick and painless. They were absolutely right; the whole appointment took 15 minutes. A few days later I received a phone call from my physician letting me know everything was okay and it was breast tissue and not a lump. I learned that as women age our breast tissue changes, too. Join with me and – Do It Afraid! Don’t delay; make your appointment and get your mammogram. It could save your life. Let’s be the example for great health. With your health in mind, Lorrie Hartley, CFRE Executive Director


Mission Statement

To serve as the philanthropic organization that facilitates charitable donations to support and assist the mission of PCRMC in providing for the health care needs of the communities it serves.

Vision Statement

Be the best hospital foundation dedicated to sustaining and advancing PCRMC in providing world-class healthcare for the continued benefit of our service community.

Phelps Regional Health Care Foundation

2012 Board

of Directors Ted Day, R.Ph., President Debbie Schuetz, Treasurer Mary Graham, MD, Secretary Patricia Leaders Mark Riefer Cindy Beger Dwight Look, MD Ollie Jackson John Denbo, Ph.D., Ex-Officio Kathy Nickason, Ex-Officio

Phelps Regional Health Care Foundation


Lorrie Hartley, CFRE Executive Director Donia Camarena Grateful Patient Coordinator Lori Moss Annual Giving Coordinator Greg Harris Planned Giving Specialist Ashley Brooks Administrative Assistant

Production Contributors Amy Wilson (Human Resources) Senior Training Specialist

Your Gift Matters Visit the Foundation online at


Foundation in Focus|Fall 2012

or call 573-458-7946



$1,200 RAISED

All proceeds go to the Joy of Caring Cancer Fund at Phelps Regional Health Care Foundation.

Brenna Heavin

Meet the newest Foundation Staff Member: Greg Harris Greg helps people define what they want to accomplish through taxwise planned gifts to the Phelps Regional Health Care Foundation and the best alternatives to meet those objectives. Legacy Circle members make a lasting impact by designating the Foundation for an estate gift through their will or trust, by making the Foundation a beneficiary on their IRA or other retirement asset or by establishing a life-income gift that provides the donor quarterly payments for life and an eventual gift.



Greg thinks of this development career as “helping people do great things.” Prior to joining the Foundation he was Executive Director for Development at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla (17 years) and campaign director for United Way of the D A inTSpringfield E Ozarks (10 years).

Date: October 4, 2012 Look for your invitation soon

Please contact Lori Moss at 573-458-7647 or email at for more details or to confirm your attendance.

Foundation In Focus | Fall 2012


By Amy Wilson

Quest for Answers What a mammogram is really like


ometimes it is the anticipation that makes a person’s heart kick into overdrive, whether it’s that moment when you know the stylist is going to rip the wax strip off your eyebrow or the eye doctor is going to direct a puff of air into your eye. Other times it is the dread caused by hearing other people’s horror stories of a woman who was in labor for 36 hours or the length of the epidural needle. Regardless of what starts the reaction, Sherry Simpson, a technologist at Phelps County Regional Medical Center’s Comprehensive Breast Center, has some advice for women leery about getting a mammogram. “Erase all those horror stories you’ve heard. You can formulate your own opinion,” she says. When I turned 40 in July, I called the Comprehensive Breast Center and set up my mammogram appointment. My doctor had reminded me at my last visit that turning 40 marks an important rite of passage for women – the age in which women should begin having annual mammograms. For me, there was never any question of not having the test performed. The only preparation required was to make sure I didn’t use deodorant, powder or lotion the morning of the Sherry Simpson test.


Foundation in Focus|Fall 2012

After signing in, I was greeted by Simpson, who led me into a changing room where I was given a pink cape with snaps in the front. Simpson noted that the room temperature must be 67 degrees for the equipment. I was instructed to remove my bra and shirt, and to put the cape on, which I was able to do without any problems. She then led me into the procedure room where I got my first look at the mammogram machine. Simpson anticipated my concerns and began explaining the process to me. The results of the Amy awaiting her mammogram mammogram would be sent to me in the mail, and my doctor would also get a written report. Simpson then showed me a reminder letter. “This will be mailed to you next year because we want you to have a mammogram every year from now on,” she said. The first part of the procedure was a manual breast exam. During the procedure, Simpson talked me through each step. “You don’t have to remember anything, but I would like for you to know what to expect. I don’t want you to have any surprises,” she said. We talked

about the importance of a mammogram in picking up things that you can’t feel and then she asked a series of questions about nipple discharge or dimpling of skin. The part I had heard the most about Amy and Sherry during her mammogram – squishing my breast like a pancake – turned out to be completely different than I had expected. She explained she would be taking four films, two of each breast, one from the front and one from the side. She showed me the proper position to ensure a clear image, which required me to hold up one arm while my breast was on the platform. The position of my body, including placement of my feet, makes a big difference in the quality of the image. “I’ve been doing this a long time, so I know how much compression to use and I’ll stop when I feel it is going to give us a good image,” she said. It turned out to be about three seconds. My expectation was that I would feel immediate, excruciating pain – since that was what I had always heard about mammograms. In reality, it was similar to the feeling of someone taking my blood pressure… with no pain. “Just remember that when any part of your body is being squished together, it is a little uncomfortable, but certainly tolerable,” Simpson explained. She had me change positions between images, asking me to hold very still. At the end, Simpson reviewed the images on the screen. “One of my responsibilities is to make sure it is a good image,” she explained. Once all the images had loaded up on the screen and she verified them, they were sent to the radiologist to be read. She then took me to the changing room where

I exchanged the cape for my clothing. As she walked me back to the waiting area, I told her how amazed I was about the procedure. I recalled what Helen Litz, Breast Center Coordinator, told me on the phone when I made my appointment: “It is 15 minutes…a short time to make a big difference.” A few days later, I received the letter from my doctor indicating that the mammogram was fine. ••• ••• ••• ••• The day before the mammogram, I jotted a quick email to my female relatives to get their opinions about what to expect. I received responses from my mother, grandmother and two aunts. It was the response from my 80-year-old grandmother that made me realize how important these screenings are. “I have been having mammograms for several years now and I can say that I never have had a bad experience at any time,” she wrote. “I have heard those women speak about it being so painful, but I haven’t had that problem. It seems when you think they will squeeze you to death, they stop just before and take the picture.” She explained that during a self-breast exam, she found a hard spot on her left breast. After having two mammograms, followed by an ultrasound and a biopsy, it was confirmed that the lump was cancerous. “I chose to have a mastectomy. So far, I am cancer free but still under a doctor’s care and I have a check up every six months. I believe mammograms are very important for all women. A mammogram saved my life,” she wrote.

Amy with her mother, Karen Darnell, and grandmother, Mary Larkins

Foundation In Focus | Fall 2012


By Helen Litz

A Q&A with Helen Litz PCRMC C omprehensive B reast C enter

Helen Litz, Breast Center Coordinator

What is the Breast Center Mammography Fund?

Since January of 2001, PCRMC’s Comprehensive Breast Center and the Phelps Regional Health Care Foundation have been providing mammogram screenings to women in our service area who may not have the financial resources to obtain this important exam. Since the start of the program, we’ve been able to assist 350 women with this life-saving exam. This year, nine women have requested and qualified to receive their yearly mammogram.

How do you know if you qualify for financial assistance?

The National Poverty level guidelines are used to determine if the person qualifies to have the free screening exam. This is a very generous guideline which takes into consideration family size and income. All applicants must submit a copy of their tax return from the previous year. If they have not filed their taxes, we give them the IRS number to call and request a letter be sent to them which states they did not file. When they have either of these documents, they bring them to the Breast Center and fill out the request form. If they are within guidelines, I will authorize the screening to be done that day.

Why is early detection so important?

Since January 2012, 56 women have been diagnosed with breast cancer at PCRMC. This is only one reason it is so important to have your


Foundation in Focus|Fall 2012

yearly exam so cancers can be found before they start to cause symptoms. The earlier the detection through self-exam and mammograms, the more likely the cancer will be much smaller and confined to the breast. Once women start to experience symptoms, it generally means the cancer is already larger and may increase the likelihood that it will spread beyond the breast. For many cancers, early detection can significantly reduce mortality, so it is very important that care is expedited.

What are the symptoms and risks associated with breast cancer?

Breast cancer symptoms can vary. You may have a lump, nipple drainage or inversion, skin change or dimpling, or no obvious symptoms at all. Symptoms that are similar to breast cancer could also be caused by a non-cancerous infection or a cyst. If any breast changes are experienced, your doctor should be notified right away even if it is not time for your yearly mammogram. The earlier breast cancer is found and diagnosed, the better the chances are of beating it. The risks of getting breast cancer also vary. Having one first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter) with breast cancer can double a woman’s risk; having two first-degree relatives increases her risk about three times. The exact risk is not known, but women with a family history of breast cancer in a father or brother also have an increased risk of breast cancer. Actually, less than 15% of women with breast cancer have a family member with this

disease. This means that most, or over 85%, of women who get breast cancer do not have a family history of this disease. Often women have a false sense of security that they will not get breast cancer since no one in their family has had it. They put off having their mammogram because of this false assurance. If a cancer is found, it is more likely to be more advanced and their options for treatment are reduced.

best treatment options and the very best chance for a cure in a place that offers “world-class” care to their patients. Our program integrates cancer prevention, early detection, rapid diagnosis, and cutting-edge therapies. When people first find out they have breast cancer, they often feel overwhelmed, vulnerable and sometimes alone. While under all this stress, they must also learn about and try to understand all the complex medical treatments that they are presented with and then try to choose the best one.


About 5% to 10% of breast cancer cases are thought to be hereditary, resulting directly from gene defects or mutations inherited from a parent. The most common cause of hereditary breast cancer is an inherited mutation in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. In normal cells, these genes help prevent cancer by making proteins that keep the cells from growing abnormally. If you have inherited a mutated copy of either gene from a parent, you have a high risk of developing breast cancer during your lifetime. The risk may be as high as 80% for members of some families with BRCA mutations. These cancers tend to occur in younger women and more often affect both breasts than cancers in women who are not born with one of these gene mutations. Women with these inherited mutations also have an increased risk for developing other cancers, particularly ovarian cancer. If this information is known, there are methods of increased surveillance that can be

What is the Breast Center’s role?

Facing the possibility of a cancer diagnosis is extremely stressful. PCRMC’s Comprehensive Breast Center expedites the diagnosis process through a coordinated and comprehensive program that helps to quickly provide answers. Our process minimizes delays, thus reducing the time to diagnosis. We have the leading edge technology that allows us to detect early stage cancer. Once diagnosed, we are able to offer patients multidisciplinary cancer care using the most advanced technology and procedures right here at home. There is no need for patients to have the burden of traveling to another city. They can be assured they are being offered the very


“There is no need for patients to have the burden of traveling to another city. They can be assured that they are being offered the very best treatment options and the very best chance for a cure in a place that offers ‘world-class’ care to their patients.”

What is the most important thing women should do?

Breast self-exams should be a part of your monthly health care routine. You should also visit your doctor if you experience breast changes. If you are over 40 or at a high risk for the disease, you need to have an annual mammogram and physical exam by your doctor. Early detection makes a huge difference!!

How do I get in touch with the Breast Center?

If you have any questions about any of these or other breast care concerns, please contact Helen Litz at 573-458-3108 or via email at litzh@pcrmc. com or stop by the Breast Center on the first floor of the Medical Office Building. To learn more about or to donate to the Breast Center Mammography Fund, please contact Lori Moss at 573-458-7647 or email her at

Foundation In Focus | Fall 2012


By Amy Wilson

Breast Cancer Survivor Brings Hope to Others

Front Heather Dobson, Wanda Dobson, Grace Assouad, Judith Mulvany, and Linda Moore. Back Aaron Dobson, Patrick Kerwin, Tony Dobson, Kate Weaver, and Carol Davis


Foundation in Focus|Fall 2012


year ago, Wanda Dobson joined her daughter-inlaw in the Susan G. Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure. “I was overwhelmed at the turnout of people,” Dobson says. “When I later got diagnosed with breast cancer, it helped me to remember there were a lot of women walking around in those pink shirts.” Dobson, a medical technologist in the laboratory at Phelps County Regional Medical Center, marked her one-year anniversary of being cancer-free in June. ••• Dobson had her first mammogram at age 35 at the urging of her family physician, noting that a baseline would help detect any changes in her breasts. At the screening, she was handed a model of the breast and asked to find the tumors. When she couldn’t locate them, she quickly realized that selfexams can’t detect everything. “I knew that I needed someone to show me the proper way to perform breast exams,” she says. “Once I turned 40, I began having a mammogram every year.” She explains that she was amazed when she had her first mammogram at the Phelps County Regional Medical Center’s Comprehensive Breast Center. “The staff members were fantastic,” she says. “Even the foot position makes a difference.” ••• Dobson continued having annual mammograms, but recalls an incident that happened to her in the late part of 2010 that altered her plans for 2011. She had gone grocery shopping before Thanksgiving and as she was getting the groceries out of her SUV, she bent over to pick up a trash bag and ended up colliding with her side mirror. “The force of the impact doubled me over, and I later started having pain in my shoulder and lower arm,” she recalls. “I had really smacked it hard. I battled the pain throughout the holidays before going to the doctor.” She went to her regular physician, Bonnie Ranney, MD, in February or March of 2011. Since it was also time for her annual Pap exam, Ranney conducted a breast exam. “Neither one of us felt anything,” she says. When her two sons came to visit for Easter, Dobson could Bonnie Ranney, MD

barely lift the food from the oven because of the pain from her shoulder. She went back to the doctor, and was sent to outpatient therapy three times a week. Dobson was due for her annual mammogram in May, but decided to postpone it until she completed her therapy. On June 20, 2011, she had the mammogram, but she experienced difficulty getting her right arm positioned high enough for the right side view. “The mammogram itself didn’t hurt,” she says. “A week later, I received a letter that said more views were needed.” The letter wasn’t a surprise, she notes, because she had received a similar letter in the past. “I went back on June 29 to get other pictures,” she says. “I remember asking the tech if it was my right side and was it because I couldn’t get my arm up. I was told that it was on the inside and they did an ultrasound that afternoon.” Dobson met with Ranney a few days later, and they examined the LeRoy Wombold, DO images. “The way the growth had formed looked suspicious,” Dobson says. “It was really tiny and looked like a little flower.”  Dobson then met with LeRoy Wombold, DO, on July 11 to go over the next step, which was a punch biopsy. The punch biopsy involves the removal of a small disk-shaped sample of tissue using a sharp, hollow device. The tissue is then examined under a microscope.

Foundation In Focus | Fall 2012


“I knew it wasn’t going to be a pleasant experience, but it was something that needed to be done,” she notes. On July 13, Dobson went to the Breast Center, accompanied by a friend, for the punch biopsy. Edward Downey, DO, used the ultrasound as a guide to find the Edward Downey, DO spot. “I think he got nearly all the tumor with the biopsy,” Dobson says. “As part of the procedure a tiny metal fleck was placed where the tumor was removed so that spot would show up on future images.” Anxious to know the outcome of the biopsy, Dobson obtained the test results, which indicated that the growth was ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), the most common type of non-invasive breast cancer. She immediately began research on the Internet. “I looked up Cornell, Stanford and Mayo Clinic and the one thing that hit me was because this was DCIS, most of the time you end up losing the breast although occasionally you can get away with a lumpectomy,” she says. Armed with information, Dobson rationalized that her diagnosis could definitely have been worse. “The tumor was small,” she says. “I decided that I just had to move on from there.” She made an appointment with Wombold for a lumpectomy, and it was scheduled for July 20. The result was that four of the eight margins were positive for pre-cancer.

Patrick Kerwin and Wanda Dobson in the Survivors Walk.


Foundation in Focus|Fall 2012

While dealing with this diagnosis, Dobson was still experiencing shoulder pain. “I had an MRI done in between the punch biopsy and the lumpectomy,” she says. “It initially looked like I had torn the rotator cuff, but it turned out that I had terrible bone spurs and scar tissue that had built up.” At that point, Dobson realized that she couldn’t fight cancer and have shoulder surgery at the same time. She was also anxious to get her health issues settled before her son’s Aug. 27 wedding. She opted to get the shoulder surgery out of the way and scheduled it for Aug. 1 in Springfield. The surgery went well and when she went back to visit with the surgeon nine days later, she told him she was going to need a mastectomy. He then made recommendations for both a breast oncologist and a plastic surgeon. She continued physical therapy on her shoulder and then went Aug. 22 to her first appointment with the breast oncologist. “He explained some things to me and told me that radiation and chemotherapy would depend on how the surgery went,” she says. “I was set to have to do either one treatment or the other in my mind even though I really didn’t want to do either.” After learning that four of the eight margins were positive for pre-cancer and having done her research, Dobson made the decision to move forward with the mastectomy. On Sept. 20, Dobson had her right breast removed. The surgeon removed three of the sentinel nodes and three regular lymph nodes. Since they all tested negative, she did not have to have radiation or chemotherapy treatments. The plastic surgeon inserted a tissue expander, which is similar to a balloon, in order to prepare her for the reconstructive surgery which took place Dec. 14. “At first, I thought I would just have my breast taken off and not worry about it,” Dobson says. She eventually changed her mind, opting to go ahead with nipple reconstruction and nipple tattooing. “My sister told me a story about one of her friends who had a prosthetic breast. She didn’t wear it around the house, so when she wanted to go out, it became like her keys and she would have to remember where she put it. I didn’t want to have to worry about trying to find my breast,” she says. “The more normal I look in the mirror, the more I like it.” Because all the margins were clear and the lymph nodes were negative, Dobson did not get placed on medications following the surgery. On June 21, she

went to the Breast Center for her annual mammogram of the left breast. “It was hard to walk in, and it was the first time I had been there since all this had happened,” Dobson says. “Those girls were so understanding. Mary C. Lewis did my mammogram and I was told that Dr. Downey would look at it immediately. I was sort of surprised about that, but for the next five years, my scans will be read right then. When I left that day, I knew I was okay.” Dobson describes Helen Litz, Breast Center Coordinator, as being a Mary C. Lewis valuable resource who answered many of her questions. “She put me at ease immediately,” Dobson says. She credits her faith with helping her cope with a breast cancer diagnosis at the age of 58, noting the death of her husband seven years ago as another difficult life event. “I feel extremely lucky,” she explains. “Yeah, this was an ordeal, but I came out smelling like a rose. My advice to others is to keep on fighting and not give up. I can’t imagine how hard radiation and chemotherapy are, but my father went through two rounds before he

passed away. Those kinds of role models show you the way.” When she reflects on the past year, Dobson explains that what stands out for her is the support she received from family, friends and even strangers. “I went shopping while in Springfield and in talking with other women, they Wanda Dobson would share their stories about how they were survivors and how many years it had been,” she says. “I’ve had so many people be there and help me.” To demonstrate her appreciation, Dobson had pink polo shirts made for the Relay for Life held in August. “The shirts said ‘Caregivers Rock’ and everyone near and dear to me wore them in the survivors’ walk,” she says. In celebrating the one-year mark, Dobson notes that her experience has made her more aware of other people’s situations. “I feel very fortunate how it turned out,” she says. “Now, I am here saying that it has been a year for me so I can give hope to someone else.”


for a cure

To show their support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the City of Rolla Fire & Rescue personnel will be wearing pink “Firefighters for a Cure” t-shirts as their official daily uniform shirt during the month of October and joining firefighters across the U.S. to promote Breast Cancer Awareness. These t-shirts will be on sale to the public through October 10. You can order yours and help support a great cause by calling the City of Rolla Fire & Rescue at (573) 364-3989 or email or

Firefighters Geoff Stevenson and Alan Hill

All proceeds will stay local and benefit the Phelps Regional Health Care Foundation’s Breast Center Mammography Fund at PCRMC.

Foundation In Focus | Fall 2012


Meet the Board Ted Day, R. PH President

MO-SCI Corporation

Debbie Schuetz Treasurer

Forest City Family Practice

Mary Graham, MD Secretary


Cindy Beger

Investment Realty

John Denbo, Ph.D (Ex-Officio)



Foundation in Focus|Fall 2012

Ollie Jackson

Retired Community Member

Patricia Leaders EXIT Realty Team Leaders

Dwight Look, MD PCRMC

Kathy Nickason (Ex-Officio)

Auxiliary & Volunteer Services

Mark T. Riefer

Level Path Investments

Board Member Responsibilities Each Board Member should have a working understanding and appreciation of the mission statement and philosophy of Phelps County Regional Medical Center: Provide every resident in our community the opportunity for optimal health through access to world-class, patientcentered healthcare delivered safely, efficiently and effectively, close to home.

From Our President, Ted Day, R. PH What attracted you to become a member of the Foundation board? I wanted to be involved with the success of the hospital as it played a major role in my health care career and I wanted to be able to give back to the organization that had given me so much.

What is the role of a board member? I see the role of a board member to be a 24/7 ambassador to the community on the importance of the single most important health care asset we have.

What traits do you look for in board members? There are many qualities in board members — organizational skills, financially minded, work related — but the most important of them all is to have a passion for continuing to be able to provide state-of-the-art health care services to our community.

As you look to the future of PCRMC and the Foundation, what things are you most excited about? The most important thing I'm excited about is the transformation that the Foundation has undergone in the last two years and the many accomplishments that its made. It's hard to prioritize the Foundation's work when taking into account the Foundation in Focus magazine, various funds being managed and supported, recognition and history walls and the Delbert Day Cancer Institute.

“This is an exciting time for PCRMC and for the Foundation and I want to be a part of that. The hospital’s new mission statement says it all.” — Kathy Nickason Foundation In Focus | Fall 2012


By Amy Wilson

Diagnosis Gives New Meaning to Images


s a radiologist, Edward Downey, DO spends the majority of his time looking at images on a computer screen and then interpreting them. His focus is on what he sees in the images, not on the names attached. At least that is how it used to be…before he himself was diagnosed with cancer. “It was a revelation for me,” he says. “As a radiologist, I would think, ‘Wow, this is an interesting case.’ But during my treatment, I was able to hear patients’ fears and see their reaction. It gave me a different respect for what I do. There is someone attached to the image.” ••• The American Cancer Society recommends screening for colorectal cancer soon after turning 50. It is a recommendation that Downey was aware of, but chose to ignore. “I was extremely busy trying to get my practice started,” he says. “I started working here (Phelps County Regional Medical Center) before I was 50, and I was just too busy to get screened. I should have made the time.” Colon cancer is a slow progressive disease; if caught early, polyps can be removed before they become cancerous. “We, especially those of us in the medical profession, live in denial,” Downey says. With no history of colon cancer in his family, Downey attributed the rectal bleeding he had been experiencing to hemorrhoids. In March 2004, about 20 months after he began working at PCRMC, he had a colonoscopy. It revealed a six-centimeter rectal cancer. He began a five-week combination of chemotherapy and radiation treatment while maintaining his work schedule. “I would sit and read my films, but other people had to hang them up for me,” Downey recalls. “It was real old school stuff (prior to the computer imaging used today). Then I would run down for radiation treatment.”


Foundation in Focus|Fall 2012

One of the biggest challenges for him was the persistent diarrhea that occurred during the second week of therapy and lasted until about a week after it was completed. Although the tumor had shrunk during the treatment, Downey underwent a laparoscopic procedure in July 2004 that saved him a long-term hospital stay. He was sidelined for two weeks before returning to work. “The worse thing was that my shoulders were hurting from having to be positioned in a 45-degree angle for the surgery,” he says. Downey came away from the surgery with a permanent colostomy. A colostomy is a surgical procedure that brings one end of the large intestine out through the abdominal wall. Stools moving through the intestine drain into a bag attached to the abdomen. “This was a whole new psychological issue for me,” he says. “I could have had a hookup, but it would have required an ileostomy (an opening in your belly wall that is made during surgery and is used to deliver waste out of the body when the colon or rectum is not working properly). Then, it would have taken two or even three surgeries to see if it

Edward Downey with Christy (daughter), Allie (wife), and Shannon (daughter)

would work. My wife and I made the decision for one surgery.” Downey acknowledges that since he is not a good patient, opting for the permanent colostomy was the right decision. Downey with his wife, Allie, and “There would grandchildren, Gigi and Edward have been about a 50 percent chance that a reconnection would have been successful,” Downey says. “I didn’t make the decision until the day of surgery, and I had five different physicians come in and ask me if I was sure. A colostomy is better than the alternative, which is dying.” After the surgery, Downey underwent another six months of chemotherapy. “I would have three hours of treatment twice a week, as well as wearing an infusion pump,” he recalls. “I had issues with dehydration and had to be infused with saline a few times.” Downey describes himself as “looking like a ghost” during the treatment, noting that he lost a lot of weight and was gray and sallow. In spite of his appearance and extreme fatigue, he maintained his work schedule. “For me, work was therapeutic,” he says. “I could put my mind on something else rather than my situation. Work allowed me to shift my thoughts off my problems.” As he went through his chemotherapy, Downey says he gained a new perspective of his role as a medical practitioner. “One of the funny lines I heard from one of the patients was, ‘You are a doctor. You don’t get cancer,’” he says. “It was a big eye opener for me to attach faces to the images.”

“We, especially those of us in the medical profession, live in denial.”

Downey found himself answering questions as he was waiting for treatment at the Bond Clinic. “I learned a lot about what non-medical people with cancer go through,” he says. “You start reading about your odds on the Internet. It is difficult enough for me as a physician to know what the statistics mean. The statistics confuse everything for the layperson, which is why it is so important to be up front with what the chances are. Joe Bond, MD, and Mary Graham, MD, are like that.” Downey emphasizes the importance of being a knowledgeable patient. “I read a lot of alternative medical research,” he says. “I made suggestions to Dr. Bond and was proactive in my treatment. As a patient, you should be educated and try to find out as much as possible. It was difficult enough for me as a medical practitioner to sift through the information because there is a lot of garbage on Mary Graham, MD the Internet. A layperson has a real difficult time sifting through it all.” As he looks toward the future, Downey can celebrate eight years of being cancer-free. “At age 40, I will bug my two daughters and be on their case until they are screened,” Downey says. “My wife has already had her colonoscopy. The screening Joe Bond, MD programs are very important. In 2011, there were 31 new cases of colon cancer diagnosed at PCRMC. We also have between 90-100 cases of breast cancer per year here and a number of the tumors are very, very small. You want to get it early and get it out.” In his role as a radiologist, Downey meets weekly as a member of the Tumor Board, which provides caregivers from across the medical specialties an opportunity to discuss best courses of treatment. “It is a good way for us all to learn,” he says. “I have learned a lot about how the other doctors think and what they need from me as I read the images. It provides good interaction and a new respect for each other’s abilities.”

Foundation In Focus | Fall 2012


By Amy Wilson

Standing Tall An update on Abbie Darnell


ike any mother of a high school senior, Jean Darnell wonders what the future will hold for her daughter. “I want Abbie to find what makes her smile,” Jean says. “She will figure out where she wants to go to school and have a great time. That’s my goal.” It’s a goal that will be much easier to attain thanks to the Phelps Regional Health Care Foundation and a device from the Bioness Company. Abbie was born with cerebral palsy, which is a group of disorders that can involve brain and nervous system functions, such as movement, learning, hearing, seeing, and thinking. She’s had numerous surgeries throughout her life, most recently two in August, causing her to miss the first few weeks of school. This round of surgery was on her knee to move the tibia, as well as to remove a plate from a former hip surgery. “She had been having quite a bit of pain, and the tests showed her knee cap had moved high on her femur,” Jean says. “It’s all part of cerebral palsy.” Abbie has come a long way from the days of being confined to leg braces. Her progress has been aided by the Bioness device, which helps individuals with foot drop problems. The device, clinically referred to as the NESS L300, is a small, non-invasive lightweight leg cuff that is designed to sit just below the knee. It contains electrodes that provide stimulation to the leg muscles. A small gait sensor is attached to the individual’s shoe, and it works with the leg cuff to sense when the heel is in the air or on the ground. The system also comes with a handheld remote that allows the user to adjust the level of stimulation or turn the device off. “I feel much better after the Bioness therapy,” Abbie says. “I am able to do a lot more and have more energy. It has given me more confidence to do things I might not have done.” It was almost three years ago that Jean and her husband, Brent, noticed that the quality of Abbie’s gait was decreasing and scheduled an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. Jean, who serves as the director of the Capable Kids and Family program at The Community Partnership, learned about the Bioness device from Ted Day, who is


Foundation in Focus|Fall 2012

president of Mo-Sci Corporation and the president of the Phelps Regional Health Care Foundation. Day’s wife, Kim, had watched a television program in which the device was featured and had shared it with him. He, in turn, thought Jean might know someone who would benefit from the device. When the Days discovered that the Bioness could help Abbie, they took action and purchased the device for her. Later, the Darnells and the Days worked together to convince the insurance company to cover the cost. Once insurance agreed to cover the device, the Darnells returned the money to the Days so they could help other people. The Days approached the Phelps Regional Health Care Foundation to create a fund to help others in the community who could also benefit from using Bioness. That fund, known as the Abbie Darnell Fund, continues to grow. “It used to be that Abbie would get home from school and that was it, she would be wiped out,” Jean says. “Now she isn’t expending all that energy trying to pick up her feet. “I really wasn’t sure what to expect when we first learned about Bioness. As a parent, you are always hoping that everything coming down the pike will make your child’s life better,” she says. “This time, it has made her life easier. I couldn’t ask for anything more.” Jean notes that there is a significant amount of local interest in the Bioness device. “There is a little girl in the Capable Kids program who is going to start using the device,” Jean says. “Her parents saw Abbie. Because of that family’s interest, the company developed a smaller cuff. They would have never known about the device if it hadn’t been for Abbie.” Abbie is especially thankful that the Bioness device has helped her stop dragging her feet, which saves her from tripping and falling. Over the summer, Abbie participated in the VolunTeen program at Phelps County Regional Medical Center, which involved extensive walking as she volunteered throughout the facility. “I really wanted to give back because the hospital has given so much,” Abbie says. “I got lost a few times, and by the end of the day I was tired. I got around without too much trouble.” After finishing her VolunTeen duties, Abbie would walk over to the Medical Office Building for physical therapy. “Her independence has increased,” Jean says. “I don’t know where she will end up, but a lot of doors will be open.” In the summer of 2011, Abbie attended a conference at Mizzou in Columbia. The conference was geared toward people with disabilities. “I know several people with cerebral palsy,” Abbie says. “The conference really changed my life. I don’t have as many limitations as some people do.”

In fact, “limitations” is a word that would never be used to describe this busy 17 year old. As she settles into her senior year, she juggles her schoolwork with extracurricular activities such Kim and Ted Day as National Honors Society, FCCLA and cheering on the Bulldogs at games. When she isn’t busy with school, she enjoys hanging out with her friends at Spoon Me in Rolla or attending activities at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. While her future is obviously something she is thinking about, Abbie knows that her options are wide open. She is even considering going away to college. “I had always hoped I could, but I hadn’t pictured it,” she says. “I don’t really want to lock myself into anything yet. It (career) has to be something with people or I would go crazy. There are so many possibilities.” Regardless of her choice, Abbie plans to stay passionate about her mission to help others. “I just feel like there are so many people in this world who need help,” she says. “I want to create a website so people around the world can connect and share stories about their lives, communicate with experts and share common experiences. People need to know they matter and be validated. “Our society judges them so much, and they need to feel important,” she says. “I feel very passionate about that.” Abbie credits her family and her faith toward helping her deal with life’s obstacles. “If I pray about it, I know that no matter whether I get the answer I want that God has a plan and whatever it is will be the right thing,” she says. “I know there are people out there facing more than I am and I couldn’t even imagine what they are going through. Why should I complain?” Abbie serving as a VolunTeen

Foundation In Focus | Fall 2012


A Royal Flush Hospice Poker Run Most Successful Yet

Phelps Regional Homecare recently hosted the second annual Hospice Poker Run to benefit the Phelps Regional Health Care Foundation’s Hospice Fund. We would like to extend our sincere appreciation to our sponsors, donors and participants. Their generous support raised $4000 for Hospice! “We think the event was a great success and are very pleased with the results. We doubled what we made last year and that allows us to serve even more families. We have two goals with this event; one to raise money for the Hospice Fund and two to raise awareness of the Hospice program; we were able to do that to a greater extent this year. We love it that these riders really have a heart for the program and are so willing to interact with the families and residents we serve,” says Kerry Poindexter, Client Services Coordinator of Phelps Regional Homecare.

Kerry Poindexter

What is Hospice? Phelps Regional Homecare is a not-for-profit homecare agency serving seven local counties with a variety of homecare services; one of which is Hospice care. Hospice is specialized care given to individuals who are facing a terminal illness and their families. The focus of Hospice care is comfort and dignity; to allow an individual to live life to the fullest and enjoy their time with family and friends. Each year we serve over 300 individuals and their families. The Phelps Regional Health Care Foundation-Hospice Fund supports our Hospice patients and families in various ways including but not limited to: annual memorial services, assistance in paying utility bills and purchasing food vouchers, Christmas and Thanksgiving food baskets/meals, legacy life review, travel arrangements, and educational programs. For more information about Hospice services or how you can help those in your community who are living with a terminal illness, please contact Phelps Regional Homecare at 573-364-2425 or visit our website at Homecare. To make a donation to the Hospice Fund, please contact Lori Moss at 573-458-7647 or go online to


Foundation in Focus|Fall 2012

Me m or i a l G i v i n g The following loved ones were remembered by family and friends...

June-August 2012

Alfred P. Bradshaw David Hall

Lula Crider Kurtis and Lois Lambiel John and Judy Lewis June Powers Betty Volosin

Jay Crump Patricia Broaddus

Darlene Dillon Clark and Susan Barker Cindy Engelbrecht John and Judy Lewis Marisa Roach Kenneth and Lula Robinson Rudy Rush David and Rose Skyles

Austin J. Hoener Dakota Dixon

Herbert Hoffmann Joe and Frances Wilson

Elmer R. Jones Sharon Dolisi

Kevin Kordes William and Judith Aaron Christopher and Susie Baldwin James and Annie Bass Sharon Birkman Charles and Annette Cyrus John and Sally Droste Larry and Amber Hobbs John and Judy Lewis Paul and Martha Long Dale and Janece Martin Gene and Marla Maurer Bob and Carlene May Scott and Laurie Miller Richard and Connie Pirtle Joseph and Amber Polizzi Betty Rahner Charles and Marilyn Schmidt Steven Shields Keith and Sandra Stanek Helen Vaughn Wiggins Abstract Co.

Vivian Creamer Murry Judith Smith

Alice I. Patt Warren Patt

Barbara Russell Kent and Winona Roberts

Jason A. Skeeters Dwane and Donna Whitaker

Glenna Smith Sharon and Howard Bilbrey William and Sherry Cook John and Cheri Fenton Luke Kaiser Lawrence and Maureen Maher Ellen and Carter Ogden Darrell and Sherry Pulley Timothy and Amy Rolen Timothy and Jennifer Roth Rick Smith Mark and Deborah von Nida Ralph and Kathy Williams

LaRue Staines Ann Brown Charles and Esther Robertson Immanuel Lutheran Church

Marjorie Taylor Alan Taylor Donald Taylor Raymond Taylor

Lillian Walters Donna Haines Keith Larke Nicholas Sitro

Foundation In Focus | Fall 2012


White Christmas Luncheon FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2012 MATT’S STEAKHOUSE 10:00 am – 1:00 pm For registration, please go online to and click on the Heart-2-Heart Logo or contact Annette Wells at (573) 308-1301 Proceeds benefit the Phelps Regional Health Care Foundation’s Heart-2-Heart Fund

Front row: Wanda Davis, Fredi Zobrist, Gerry Martin Back row: Carol Bennett, Libby Niles, Carolyn Tilford, Julie Rodgers, Annette Wells, and Barb Smith

During last year’s Celebration of Nations, the planning committee sold t-shirts and generously donated a portion of the proceeds to the Breast Center Mammography Fund at PCRMC. They raised $200 to help support women’s health in our community.

Thank you for your support!! Rebecca Holmes, Stephane Menand and Chelsea Ehret


Foundation in Focus|Fall 2012

Support Groups

Mark Your Calendars

Alzheimer’s Support Group

Provides vital links to other caregivers and an opportunity to learn more about Alzheimer’s Disease and ways to cope.

Location: Pulaski Room Time: 1:30-2:30 pm Date: First Thursday of month Contact: 573-364-6414 Cancer Support Group

Provides support for cancer patients, their families and caregivers.

Location: Radiation Oncology

reception room

Time: 5:00-7:00 pm Date: Every Wednesday Contact: 573-458-7500

Parkinson’s Support Group

Assists those with Parkinson’s disease, their family, caregivers, and care partners in adapting more positively to the physical, emotional, and social changes associated with the disease.

Location: Rolla Apartments

1101 McCutcheon Drive

Time: 1:30-2:30 pm Date: Fourth Thursday of month Contact: 573-458-3034 Mental Health Support Group

Please call 573-364-2007 for more information about the various meeting times.

Smoking Cessation/Support

Please call 573-458-7691 for more information about this group. For a complete list of Support Groups, please visit


4 Comedy Uncorked Event at Leach Theatre 22 Cardio for a Cure at The Centre Proceeds benefit the Breast Center Mammography Fund.

• Breast Cancer Awareness Events Panera - Pink Ribbon Bagels

Benefiting the Delbert Day Cancer Institute

  Key Sport Shop - In the Pink T-Shirt Sales Proceeds benefit the Breast Center Mammography Fund.


15 Historic and Recognition Wall Unveiling Ceremony



4 Hospice Memorial Service - 2:00 p.m. at PCRMC Call Kerry Poindexter at 458-1400 for information. Please watch for more details.

7 Heart-2-Heart Luncheon - 10:00 a.m. at Matt’s Steakhouse Please see the website at for sponsorship opportunities and other details.

9 Cancer Gala

Please watch for more details.

In Our Next Issue • Donor Profile: Meet Judy Piatt and her Guardian Angel • Recap of Heart-2-Heart Luncheon • A life saved by an AED: Featuring Tom Brown Foundation In Focus | Fall 2012


Phelps Regional Health Care Foundation a subsidiary of Phelps County Regional Medical Center

1000 West Tenth Street • Rolla, Missouri 65401


TWINS! The Phelps County Regional Medical Center Patient Transportation Program recently added two new vehicles to their fleet. This service provides transportation to and from medical appointments for our patients within a 30-mile radius and so far this year, has made 2,890 trips and traveled 1.6 million miles since its inception in 2006. This service is made possible thanks to the generous donations of our community and employees to the Patient Transportation Fund! Thanks for all you do for this community – your family, your friends, your neighbors. To make a donation to the Patient Transportation Fund, please contact Lori Moss at (573) 458-7647 or

Ron Smith, Anna Martin, and Bill Leaders show off the new transport vans.

Fall 2012  

Foundation in Focus Fall 2012

Fall 2012  

Foundation in Focus Fall 2012