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Bobby Windham was always on the move. A truck driver for most of his adult life, he enjoyed the changing scenery and independence his job offered him. That all changed when he went from being a strong, healthy family man to a patient diagnosed with rare cancer, acute myeloid leukemia. For many months, the Windham family helped Bobby with his challenges at the Forrest General Cancer Center. His treatment required him to receive a bone marrow transplant at the University Medical Center (UMC) in Jackson. We will always be grateful to the donor. Following the transplant Bobby needed to have a caregiver with him. That responsibility fell mostly on this wife Debbie. Family members helped with his care so Debbie was not overwhelmed. The Windham's experience mirrors those of many families. It is a journey that isn't traveled alone, which is why the Forrest General Healthcare Foundation is broadening its fundraising efforts to expand cancer services in the community.
Arthur Martin is no stranger to physical challenges. However, he faced the biggest challenge of his life when he recently battled stage 4 throat cancer. In mid-December Art began seven weeks of the maximum doses of chemotherapy and radiation at Forrest General’s Cancer Center. He received radiation every day, Monday through Friday and three rounds of chemotherapy every 21 days. Art’s experience of battling cancer made him more appreciative of his healthy lifestyle and the support of his family, friends and patients. It also made his family more aware of the needs for “something more” at the Cancer Center. With this in mind, their hope is that by supporting The Healing Garden, they will, in some small way, help other cancer patients and their families who are taking on the challenge of this illness.
Randy began to have stomach pains after eating. Sometimes the pain would subside, but other times the pain would continue for hours. He went to the physician to begin ruling out possibilities, but one Monday morning the pain was so severe he asked his wife to drive him to the emergency room at Forrest General. In the following days a softball size mass would be removed from his colon and he would be diagnosed with colon cancer. A new journey began for the Swan family. Randy thinks of the many trips to the Cancer Center for chemo treatments. “I cannot begin to tell you how special the staff is at Hattiesburg Clinic Oncology and Forrest General Cancer Center. I never arrived that I wasn’t greeted by a smile, energy and enthusiasm. They understand that they have to show the energy that you don’t have. There is a positive vibe in the air at all times. They are caring, compassionate and never make you feel as if they don’t have time to hear about your progress. They treat everyone the same and they are the best at what they do. I am here to tell you that they are the real deal! I could not have made it without them.” Because Randy has seen and experienced the long hours patients and families spend at the Cancer Center, he is now on a mission to put something in place to create an environment of peace and tranquility. “I want to be a part of something that can make a difference and give a diversion or brief escape from the cancer recovery journey. A place that patients, families and staff can enjoy. This outdoor Garden will definitely brighten their day. That’s what it is all about!”
“In 2012, I experienced the sorrow of losing my daughter, Pam, and the joy of gaining our premature great-granddaughter, who weighed 2 lbs 8 oz. Our experience with Forrest General Hospice during the end of Pam’s life made the days and hours much more bearable. The staff were angels of mercy. Our caregivers’ actions let me know that they understood what I was feeling. I appreciate the care and emotional support that was provided to my entire family, along with the comfort of knowing that Pam was being cared for. Hospice was a godsend for Pam and my family. After experiencing the journey toward the end of Pam’s life together, we better understand the true meaning of hospice.”
“Hospice is the most wonderful thing. They cared so much for us and for my husband. We could not have done it without them. I can’t tell you how much going from home to the hospital for general inpatient hospice care meant. The time had come where we could not manage him any longer at home and the care was seamless. It would be so good to have a hospice house with these special people running it. They are angels sent from heaven. My husband, the patient, told me ‘Momma, it has to be a calling for them, because they are so good at what they do.’”
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