You have been there for me. Through your generous gifts to the McLeod Foundation, you have helped me as both a mother and a physician.
Last year, my husband, Charlie and I joyously celebrated the birth of our third child--finally a little girl, Victoria.
After the typical stay at McLeod Regional Medical Center, we were grateful to reunite our family at home. Victoria was nursing well and like most babies, waking us regularly throughout the night.
At five days old, Victoria seemed extra sleepy and did not want to nurse. Something wasn’t right. We tried everything we knew to stimulate her but thought she was possibly just tired from the excitement surrounding her birth.
Still, as a mother, alarms were going off in my head. We contacted the Pediatrician on call. We had already tried all of the methods he suggested, and her temperature was very low. He told us to get her to the hospital. Our world turned upside down.
We live 15 minutes from McLeod and as Charlie sped towards help, we watched our precious gift from God become less and less responsive each minute.
As we rushed into the Emergency Room, our listless baby in our arms, the caring staff sprang into action. A team from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), specially trained to care for the smallest patients, was called to place the IV in her tiny, weak little vein.
Once admitted to the McLeod Children’s Hospital Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), physicians ordered a spinal tap and MRI. Victoria was also placed on a warmer to increase her dangerously low body temperature. The Lactation and Occupational Therapy teams were an added level of care to the very specialized treatment we received during this time of crisis.
After five frightening days, our precious Victoria began to improve and finally opened her eyes. I’m sure you can imagine the relief we felt. Gradually, her strength returned and she was able to come off of the warmer and begin nursing again.
We still do not know what caused the life-threatening crisis that almost took our seemingly healthy Victoria. However, we do know that without this excellent pediatric care close to home, the outcome could have been so much worse.
Our family will be forever grateful for donors to the McLeod Foundation who generously funded the establishment of a PICU years ago. Gifts like yours continue to ensure this very specialized care is available for our children.
We can never thank you enough.
Families like ours are counting on you to once again make your personal gift supporting specialized care provided by donors to the McLeod Foundation.
You have also had a profound effect on the patients I meet with every day. You see, I practice in the McLeod Cancer Center as a Radiation Oncologist.
As a native of the Turkey Creek community near Camden, South Carolina, I was particularly interested in practicing close to my family. After completing my medical training at a large academic center in Texas, I searched for similar institutions in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. I assumed I needed to find a position in an academic center to have the tools and resources vital to cancer care.
I was absolutely astounded when I visited the McLeod Cancer Center. Everything a Radiation Oncologist could want for the best patient care is available right here. I have never regretted choosing this hospital and this community as home.
Donors like you were instrumental in funding our beautiful new Cancer Center. Donors also continue their commitment to our cancer patients through the HOPE (Helping Oncology Patients Everyday) Fund. This fund was established in 2014, the year I came to McLeod.
My patients face a life-altering, terrifying diagnosis. Many cannot focus on their recommended treatment because of their very real concern about how to pay for medications, nutrition, transportation and all of the many financial difficulties caused by cancer treatment.
Donors to the HOPE Fund have made their journey easier. Help with these needs and many others are readily available thanks to your support.
Last week, I looked across my desk at a very proud man who was becoming visibly weaker each time I saw him. I was treating his aggressive head and neck cancer which made it impossible for him to eat. I knew that if drastic measures were not put in place, he would deteriorate and have to stop his life-saving treatment.
I made him promise to drink at least three nutritional supplements each day. He nodded, but I could see in his eyes that he was troubled. It was difficult for him to tell me that he could not afford to buy this liquid nutrition.
What a relief that I could simply walk him around the corner to our oncology-trained dietician. She was able to provide him with the appropriate supplements and manage his nutrition throughout his treatment which drastically improved his chances of survival.
I want you to know that even some of the larger academic centers do not have this wonderful resource. Thank you for your gifts that make it possible.
Charlie and I have made support of the McLeod Foundation a priority in our giving. We ask you to join us today as we approach this holiday season with your gift.
I was thankful for you in August when we celebrated Victoria’s first birthday. I know that without McLeod Children’s Hospital being in our region, she may not have survived the long transport to another area of the state.
And I am also thankful for you every day as I look into the terrified eyes of my patients. I know that our clinical resources at McLeod can help them medically and because of you, we can ease the burdens associated with their care.
Our family will gather this year and give thanks for our three healthy children, and I know that many cancer patients will also be thankful for the help you have provided through your gifts.
As our families celebrate, there may be a family speeding toward McLeod with a critically ill child. I am sure there are cancer patients agonizing about how to pay their bills and provide a holiday season for their family.
Please help them again with your gift to the McLeod Foundation. Charlie and I are confident that our gifts are used to have the greatest impact on our patients. You can rest assured that your gifts will touch lives, too.
We wish you a happy holiday season and remain grateful for your kindness.
Virginia Clyburn-Ipock, MD
P.S. Your holiday donation will help patients and families in their time of crisis. Please make your gift today.