Medical radiation therapist offers a dose of hope

Oct. 14, 2015

Diagnosed with breast cancer at age 42, Maria Moore will share her story at Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day on Oct. 21

As a medical radiation therapist, Maria Moore sees daily the toll cancer takes – physically and emotionally – on those who come for care at the London Regional Cancer Program. But it didn’t prepare her for own diagnosis. If anything, it made the cruel blow even more crushing.

A mom of three young boys, Maria was 42 when she became concerned that her left breast felt different than her right. A subsequent mammogram in May 2012 found highly suspicious signs of cancer and local lymph nodes. “There were multiple areas throughout the whole breast, ‘too many to count’ were their words,” she recalls. The mammogram at the Norton and Lucille Wolf Breast Care Centre at St. Joseph’s Hospital was followed by an ultrasound, a biopsy and a meeting with a surgeon – all on the same day.

“I went home devastated. I thought I was dying.”

In time, her fear would ease and the ironic twist of fate would give Maria an extra special touch with patients – care delivered with a calming dose of hope when needed.

On Oct. 21, Maria will be among the speakers at Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day, an international campaign to promote education, awareness and access for women who may wish to consider breast reconstruction after a mastectomy. Hosted jointly by St. Joseph’s Health Care London and London Health Sciences Centre, the informative event is an opportunity for women to:

  • learn about reconstruction options directly from plastic surgeons
  • hear from women who have undergone the surgery
  • view real results first hand in the women’s only ‘show and tell lounge’
  • discover the “Circle of Sharing”, a unique support group that helps women who have undergone breast reconstruction reclaim wholeness

“Whether you had a mastectomy a year ago or 10 years ago, or perhaps you have breast surgery scheduled, you are invited to learn if breast reconstruction is right for you from leading plastic surgeons and those who have lived the experience,” says Margo Bettger Hahn, advanced practice nurse with St. Joseph’s Breast Care Program.

From the start, Maria was informed about her breast reconstruction options and knew it was what she wanted. In September 2014, she underwent reconstruction of her left breast. At the same time, surgeons removed her right breast – a decision Maria made as a preventative measure. A third surgery to reconstruct her right breast was performed in May 2015.

For Maria, the worry that the cancer will return never goes away – her job and her patients are a constant reminder of what could be. Yet she is also grateful for the depth of understanding she now has as a care provider. If she feels it would benefit the patient, Maria tells them her story.

“My hope is that they see themselves in me later on – happy and healthy. They can see that there is life after all this horribleness, and it’s a good life. I’m thankful I can offer them that.”

In London, BRA Day will be held:
When: Wednesday, Oct. 21, 7:00 - 9:00 pm
Where: St. Joseph’s Hospital, Shuttleworth Auditorium (Zone D, Level 0), 268 Grosvenor St.
(Closest entrance is Cheapside St. Entrance 4)

Registration: BRA Day is free but registration is required and available online. 

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For media inquiries contact:
Dahlia Reich
St. Joseph’s Health Care London
 
Communication & Public Affairs
519-646-6100 ext. 65294
 
Kathy Leblanc
London Health Sciences Centre
Corporate Communications & Public Relations
519-685-8500 ext. 74772
Pager 10117 Pager 14772

About London Health Sciences Centre

London Health Sciences Centre has been at the forefront of medicine in Canada for 138 years and offers the broadest range of specialized clinical services in Ontario. Building on the traditions of its founding hospitals to provide compassionate care in an academic teaching setting, London Health Sciences Centre is home to Children’s Hospital, University Hospital, Victoria Hospital, the Kidney Care Centre, two family medical centres, and two research institutes – Children’s Health Research Institute and Lawson Health Research Institute. As a leader in medical discovery and health research, London Health Sciences Centre has a history of over 65 international and national firsts and attracts top clinicians and researchers from around the world. As a regional referral centre, London Health Sciences Centre cares for the most medically complex patients including critically injured adults and children in southwestern Ontario and beyond. The hospital’s nearly 15,000 staff, physicians, students and volunteers provide care for more than one million patient visits a year. For more information visit www.lhsc.on.ca

About St. Joseph’s Health Care London

Renowned for compassionate care, St. Joseph’s Health Care London is a leading academic health care centre in Canada dedicated to helping people live to their fullest by minimizing the effects of injury, disease and disability through excellence in care, teaching and research. Through partnership with Lawson Health Research Institute and our collaborative engagement with other health care and academic partners, St. Joseph’s has become an international leader in the areas of: chronic disease management; medical imaging; specialized mental health care; rehabilitation and specialized geriatrics; and surgery. St. Joseph’s operates through a wide range of hospital, clinic and long-term and community based settings, including: St. Joseph’s Hospital; Parkwood Institute; Mount Hope Centre for Long Term Care; and the Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care. For more information, visit www.sjhc.london.on.ca.

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