Theresa Taylor, outreach coordinator for Missouri Baptist Medical Center's Breast HealthCare Center (BHCC), had a rewarding time at the Susan G. Komen Power of a Promise event on Sunday, May 4. While listening to the presentations, her co-worker Stephanie Steidemann, patient navigator at the BHCC, leaned over and said to Taylor, “Hey, did you know you were getting this?”
Steidemann right away recognized who they were describing just before Taylor’s name was announced as Komen’s 2014 Health Care Professional of the Year.
“It came as a complete surprise to me,” said Taylor.
This is only the third time this honor has been awarded. Taylor was selected for the award among healthcare professionals from 17 counties.
Helen Chesnut, executive director of Susan. G. Komen St. Louis said, “We looked over those who had done work for us this past year. Theresa was a standout.”
“The way she treats the women who come for services exemplifies what Komen is about. She shows respect and caring.”
This is MBMC’s 13th year as a Komen grant recipient and Taylor’s sixth year in her role as MBMC’s liaison to help bring grant-funded mammography screenings by way of the MBMC mammography van to underinsured and uninsured women in rural communities.
“I’m honored,” said Taylor, who added that she is grateful to be able to help thousands of ladies each year get a mammogram and breast care thanks to the grant support MBMC receives. “These women may not have gotten screenings or care otherwise. This year, we had 11 ladies diagnosed with cancer, who may not otherwise have known, had they not been able to get a mammogram.”
Of course, the earlier cancer is diagnosed, the better the treatment options and outcome.
Taylor, a two-time breast cancer survivor, has a first-hand understanding of the importance of mammography. She also has compassion and empathy. Taylor said women open up to her and relate to her on several levels, including the fact that she grew up in a rural community. When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, she’s there to help them navigate further care and to lend emotional support.
Debra Victor, vice president, MBMC Healthcare Foundation said, “So well-deserved! Our patients and community are the luckiest to have Theresa advocating for them.”
Beyond her role as outreach coordinator, Taylor also participates in the annual Komen Race for the Cure St. Louis, and notably has ever since it began and prior to being a cancer survivor. She also walked four three-day Komen-sponsored events, twice each in Chicago and San Diego.
In addition, Taylor was MBMC’s 2013 Healthcare Hero of the Year last fall.