A Local Resource Filled With Hope
Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Written By: Kelley Dolling
When I was asked to tag along on Bruce Geveden’s private tour of St. Elizabeth Community Hospital’s new Oncology and Infusion Center, I didn’t quite realize what I was walking into that day. What I thought was going to be a quick glimpse at a new hospital offering in Tehama County turned out to be so much more. From the moment I walked inside the newly re-furbished Outpatient Services Center, I was immediately drawn to the calm atmosphere. As our hospital staff tour guides continued to share information about the new space and services to be offered, I nearly burst into tears on multiple occasions. It was then that I truly realized what the Oncology and Infusion Center would bring to this community --- a critical local resource filled with HOPE.
It was clear at the end of our tour that I had found the next topic for our newsletter story. Not only did I want to take a closer look at what I learned during the tour, but I also wanted to shout it from the rooftops. What can I say? This invaluable community resource deserves a moment in the spotlight.
*PHOTO: Randy Pennebaker (St. Elizabeth Community Hospital Senior Director of Operations and Director of Pharmacy), Bruce Geveden (owner of Geveden Industrial and Green Barn Whiskey Kitchen), Bambi Schumacher, Kelley Dolling, and Romi Uribe (St. Elizabeth Community Hospital Clinic Operations Manager).
The St. Elizabeth Community Hospital (SECH) Oncology and Infusion Center is now officially open. On October 1, 2019, the center began providing Hematology/Oncology services as well as infusion services to adult patients referred by primary care physicians. The warm and welcoming space features two exam rooms, four chemotherapy/immunotherapy chairs, and a highly skilled team to support an on-site Hematologist/Oncologist. This deeply caring group will be comprised of a RN Clinical Operations Manager, friendly front office clerks, medical assistants, a compassionate clinic nurse, and a team of dedicated RNs. All employees are focused and specifically trained in supporting all aspects of cancer diagnosis, treatment, education, and support service.
While I realize that was a lot of clinical speak, it’s important to note the subtle “feeling” that washes over you inside this “sterile” hospital space. Meticulous thought was put into the details of the center. From staff training and the convenient location to overall color schemes and the community puzzle in the waiting room, SECH went out of its way to create the “safest” and most peaceful space possible.
To complement the center’s attention to detail, SECH enlisted the help of Dr. Freeman, a board-certified Hematologist/Oncologist with nearly three decades of experience tucked under his lab coat. Dr. Freeman received his medical degree from the University of Nevada School of Medicine and completed his residency and fellowship in Hematology/Oncology at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. His Oncology efforts extend past his day-to-day interaction with patients. Dr. Freeman was a founding partner of Cancer Care Consultants of Northern California (1992-1999) as well as the North State Cancer Specialty Inc in Redding from 2000-2011.
With all of the center basics out of the way, we can shift the focus to the community connections that truly bring this story full circle. The hospital is not the only important player in this story. The Red Bluff Round-Up Association, Bruce Geveden, and other countless community-minded individuals are all direct supporters of Tehama County’s new and ONLY Oncology and Infusion Center. How you ask? Let me connect the dots for you.
The Red Bluff Round-Up Association started a “little” local project called Tough Enough To Wear Pink (TETWP) in 2007. This thoughtful campaign has raised countless dollars to purchase cancer detection equipment and create programs to support local residents fighting cancer. The Nurse Navigator Program and the hospital’s 3D mammography equipment were both funded by TETWP dollars. Over the years, the focus has always been on breast cancer with an interest in eventually broadening the reach. This year’s project marked the widening of the funding “scope.”
“The leaders at St. Elizabeth Community Hospital recognized that many of our patients in Red Bluff and the surrounding areas were having to travel 30 to 60 minutes to receive care and treatment for Hematology/Oncology services,” shared Maggie Redmon, Mercy Foundation North President. “When we knew we were moving forward with the new Oncology Center, the Red Bluff Round-Up Association was fully on board to help fund these efforts.”
But wait. There are more heartwarming connections. Late Red Bluff Round-Up Director, Jolene Kemen, lovingly manned the local Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign from its inception. Upon her passing, countless Tehama County businesses, organizations, and individuals stepped up as a nod to her tireless efforts. The Red Bluff Volunteer Fire Department hosted this year’s “Fill the Boot” Drive to support the cause. Women and Wine planned and implemented a fabulous fundraiser in honor of Jolene’s work. The Not Cho’ Grandma’s Bingo team hosted a wild western-themed charity game for TETWP and Glamorous Day Spa supplied a nice collection of funds from its special Pink Project. In addition, the Red Bluff Rotary’s Annual TETWP Luncheon, Sunrise Rotary’s roving jail funds, and the Pink Pig Traeger BBQ Raffle (donated by A & R Meats) were also helpful contributors this year. I could go on for days as dozens of other local businesses and/or individuals helped make this year’s TETWP donation total higher than ever.
**PHOTOS: (Large L) Amanda and Mandi from 2 Mandi's on a Mission showing off the fabulous Pink Pig Traeger; (Top L) Jolene Kemen Tough Enough to Wear Pink Rotary Luncheon co-chairs, Vicki Stroud and Sue Ampi; (Top R) Kim Miranda, owner of Glamorous Day Spa, passing off her Pink Project donation; (Bottom L) Sunrise Rotary's roving jail; (Bottom R) James Miller callin' a round of Not Cho' Grandma's Bingo. Thank you to Mandi Selvester-Owens, Dave Ramelli, and Michelle Hickok for letting us use a few of the shots above.
"The collective outpouring of support from our community during this year's Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign was nothing short of amazing," offered James Miller, General Manager of the Red Bluff Round-Up. "Businesses, service groups, and individuals joined forces to surpass Jolene's goal of raising $500,000 for local cancer-fighting efforts."
There is one man who stands out in this donation group who has yet to be mentioned. Bruce Geveden, owner of Geveden Industrial and the Green Barn Whiskey Kitchen, was a major TETWP contributor this year. His impressive winning bid during this year’s Tough Enough to Wear Pink auction not only earned him an all-inclusive trip to the Calgary Stampede, but it also allowed him to seriously support a critical need in our community. In conjunction with his donation, he was treated to an up close and personal tour of the Oncology and Infusion Center. Being a part of this private tour was a moment I will never forget. Watching Bruce and Bambi humbly soak up the magnitude of the new center was an honor. These great people truly understand what community is all about.
“The Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign is an important cause and my bidding offered a way for us to support local treatment,” said Geveden. “I am truly impressed by what the hospital built for our community."
Let’s face it. Cancer is an ugly and downright frightening diagnosis. From the moment the “C word” is uttered in an exam room, everything crumbles for an individual and his/her family. It’s comforting to know that St. Elizabeth Community Hospital now offers high quality and compassionate Oncology/Hematology and infusion care locally. Although we truly hope you never have to visit this center as a patient, it’s quite comforting to know that if you do, our community has come together to help YOU fight cancer.
VOLUNTEERS WANTED: St. Elizabeth Community Hospital's Oncology and Infusion Center is looking for volunteers to help with nutrition and patient care as well as to support patients while they receive chemotherapy and infusion services. If interested, please contact Kris Behrens (530-529-8038 or Kris.Behrens@DignityHealth.org
Written By: Kelley Dolling
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