Contact: Debra Thompson
Director, RMH Corporate Communications
Teresa Boshart-Yoder, director, Women’s Services at RMH, recently went much farther than the proverbial extra mile to help fight breast cancer; in fact, she went 60.
Yoder was one of 3,000 walkers who completed a 60-mile trek around Washington, D.C. over three days in October to benefit the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization, the largest nonprofit source of breast cancer research funding worldwide.
Among the walkers were 150 breast cancer survivors, including Yoder. She was director of Women’s Services at RMH when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in late 2004. Being on the receiving end of health care, she said, helped her to develop a greater awareness of the patient experience.
“It was very eye-opening for me,” she said. “It’s not that as a health professional I didn’t understand, but it got a lot clearer for me after having experienced it.”
Her passion for women’s health drove her to take on the unique challenge of the “Breast-Cancer 3-Day” benefiting Susan G. Komen for the Cure. But it wasn’t as simple as walking 60 miles. Each walker also had to raise $2,200 to participate. The D.C. event, held Oct. 3-5, raised $7 million for breast cancer research. Similar events were scheduled in 14 cities across the United States throughout the months of August to November.
Completing the race, with her husband and thousands of people cheering at the finish line, was an indescribable experience, Yoder said. Breast cancer survivors were honored in a special way as they crossed the finish line.
“When we walked into closing ceremony, the volunteers went first, then friends and family, then everybody applauded as survivors walked in,” Yoder said. “You couldn’t not cry. It was amazing to see thousands of people applauding the survivors. I felt like these people knew what I went through. They knew it was not an easy journey. To have thousands of people there who knew what you had done was just incredible. Next time I’m going to have more Kleenexes.”
Yoder, a registered nurse, has been in practice for 28 years, the last 17 at RMH. She also volunteers as a speaker and educator with the Susan G. Komen Foundation. The “Breast-Cancer 3-Day” benefiting Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and her own personal experience, underscore for Yoder the importance of the services that RMH staff and physicians provide to women faced with a diagnosis of breast cancer.
“We have an excellent program in our community,” she said, “We have strong oncologists, radiation oncologists and surgeons. With the addition of a dedicated breast surgeon, Heidi Rafferty, MD, and a plastic surgeon, Saied Asfa, MD, we have all the pieces in place for a comprehensive breast health program.”
For more information on breast services in the community, call RMH Women’s Health Focus