Going the Extra Mile for JL and Others

My name is Lois Kemple. I’m an Oncology Nurse Navigator at MedStar Health Cancer Network and was with you last month at Goucher College for The Red Devils 10th anniversary 5K Run & Stroll. Just like you, I rallied colleagues, friends and family to support my team and individual efforts to raise money for an organization I feel is one of Maryland’s greatest treasures. I asked people I know to go the extra mile to make whatever donation they could because of patients like “JL.”

JL went to work every day like so many of us do. She knew she did not feel well but kept finding the energy to work at her cashier job on the nightshift. One day JL noticed something in her breast and thought maybe she should get it checked out. She was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer and was terrified. She knew if she did not work she did not get paid. She began her chemotherapy and tried to keep working but the fatigue and the nausea got the best of her.

After several weeks of not being able to work, she called me and was frightened she was going to be evicted from her small apartment because she could not pay the rent since her job offered no sick benefits. Can you imagine going through the scariest time of your life, feeling sick and fearful that you will have to sleep in your car?

When I heard how frightened she was and how weak her voice sounded, I knew I had to help her. As a Nurse Navigator patients rely on me to find resources to help with the problems they experience while going through treatment. I turned to the one resource I knew always helps me to help my patients, The Red Devils.

I told JL that I would help her stay in her apartment and not to be fearful of eviction. I could hear the anxiety go out of her voice as I told her “Do not worry. I know The Red Devils will help us.” The next call I made was to The Red Devils, my safety net as an Oncology Nurse Navigator. They never hesitated when I told them what I needed. JL‘s rent was paid and she was able to stay in her apt.

This is just one example of how The Red Devils has touched my patients’ lives and mine. If not for them, many breast cancer patients would not have transportation to treatment, food to eat, help with medical costs and so much more.

As a fellow 5K Run & Stroll participant and someone who knows how much it takes to make an immediate impact on the lives of families living with breast cancer, I am asking you to go the extra mile in July so that others like JL will be able to get the help they need. If each of us walks or runs just one more mile, 5,280 feet in July, and pledges to raise a penny per foot, we can make the breast cancer journey easier for so many more families.

Registration is free; just click here. I’ve made my commitment to walk my extra mile on July 22nd. How about you?

Thank you for your support,

Lois M. Kemple, MS, RN, CNS

Oncology Nurse Navigator and Breast Cancer Survivor

MedStar Health Cancer Network