Many of us will be GLAD to say good-bye to 2009. But some in PR have managed to rise above personal crises this year to look at the bright side, and Pat Elliott is one of those.
It’s all summed up in her “Pay It Forward” segment on KPHO5, which aired last night.
The backstory: Pat provides healthcare information to consumers as a combined journalist, blogger and public relations professional. Last summer, after standing during a 3-hour workshop on social media, she noticed unusual swelling in her feet, and had the good sense to check it out with her doctor. Long story short, she found out that her white blood cell count was sky high and she was headed toward kidney failure and after a trip to the ER and admission to Banner Hospital’s Bone Marrow Transplant Center, a biopsy confirmed that she had a rare type of leukemia – chronic myelogenous leukemia, or CML.
Her stay at Banner had a strong and lasting impression on her. She says she was “deeply affected by the patients there for bone marrow transplants – they stay 30-45 days. I could have easily had their forms of leukemia instead of CML.” CML, in most cases, is no longer fatal thanks to targeted drug therapy in tablet form that came out only eight years ago. It has eliminated the need for IV chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants for most CML patients, she told me.
Pat contacted KPHO5′s Pay It Forward segment producer, describing her experience and her desire to pay it forward by donating the $500 towards new materials for the patient video library in the center. “This would help make the hospital stay better for long-term leukemia patients,” wrote Pat, “and would help not only the patients but their families as well during their long hospital stays.”
The segment was taped and aired last nite – you can watch it here. I asked Pat how she is coping now, and what her daily routine is like. Any of us at any time can be brought up short with an unexpected disease or accident. Some of her observations:
- She learned a whole new side of social media from using CaringBridge, a free social media website for those with serious illnesses, to communicate with others.
- Her illness came during the healthcare reform debate and was a topic on several blogs. The passion shown by the bloggers led her to make her own illness public.
- Friends stepped in to help – a reporter friend provided a complete meal, including pot roast, chicken soup, and pumpkin pie. A musician friend sent a song. Friends she hadn’t heard from in 20 years got in touch. One friend offered airfare for a trip to see other friends. Two IABC members set up a food brigade via a Google Group that helped her get nutritious meals and snacks.
- Posts about her illness were read by the staff at EmpowHER.com, a global women’s health media company and website based in Scottsdale, and Pat now serves as the site’s Cancer Guide.
Finally, “I’m pretty close to 100% back to what my life was before September 1, except I have a much deeper appreciation for the need to make the most of every single day.”
You can read more about Pat in her profile on EmpowHER.Tweet
the rumors are true (@ Neighbor from the 90′s)...
Sorry to see you go. avic-x920bt
First the Space Shuttle program and now this???? OH NO!...
I think it’s really funny that Jason donates money...
Sad to see you go Mr Len… been a great ride
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