BY BARB BERGGOETZ
When Carey Wooton was diagnosed with breast cancer, she had great support from her family and friends. But her nurse navigator from the IU Health Olcott Center was also there whenever she needed advice, information, and a shoulder to lean on.
“It wasn’t just about helping me,” says Wooton, 39, of Bloomington, who had a double mastectomy in 2014. “It was about helping my family. I can still call over there and say to my nurse navigator, ‘I’m on this medication now and I’m having side effects, what do you think?’ It’s that connection with her that I love. All of the nurses were so helpful.”
Wooton says she has appreciated the services provided by the Olcott Center — from her nurse navigator’s visits before each surgery and her advice about insurance, genetic testing, and medications to medical massages and a wig. One way she tries to repay that support is by participating in and donating to Hoosiers Outrun Cancer, an annual fundraising 5K run/walk and 1-mile walk organized by the Bloomington Hospital Foundation. This year’s event is September 17 and starts at Indiana University Memorial Stadium.
The event, in its 17th year, has raised approximately $2.5 million for the nonprofit Olcott Center, which serves cancer patients and their families in south-central Indiana. Lauren Dexter, Hoosiers Outrun Cancer event organizer and Hospital Foundation special events manager, says the event, during which survivors are recognized, has grown every year. About 5,500 runners, walkers, and volunteers are expected to participate this year.
Wooton, who also received chemotherapy, has run or walked the event twice with family and friends. “It’s a great fundraiser,” she says. “A lot of doctors are walking with patients and many people, including survivors and families, form teams. It just gets everyone together in a fun way.” Although she has a work commitment this year and cannot run, Wooten is donating funds as a “spirit” runner. Others who wish to offer support can make donations or pledges to runners and walkers who are participating.
“I can’t say enough good things about the center,” says Wooton, who directs a union retirement plan. “Without it, there would be a big hole in the support people receive.”