UAB Medicine staff are known for their compassion toward patients and coworkers alike during difficult times. So when one of the nurses in The Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital Infusion Clinic was diagnosed with a brain tumor earlier this year, fellow employees stepped up to show their support.
Cathy Adams, RN, has worked at UAB for nearly 30 years, the last 25 in the Infusion Clinic. In January, she suddenly began experiencing tingling and numbness on her right side while driving, which led to an automobile accident. She was taken by ambulance to UAB Hospital with injuries to her ankle, and imaging scans to rule out other problems revealed a brain tumor. The tumor was removed during a craniotomy procedure on February 6, and the surgery was followed by radiation and chemotherapy.
"I'm feeling very good now," Adams says, adding that her doctors are optimistic that the tumor was successfully removed. "The injury to my ankle was the hardest part. I was blessed to have very few side effects from the chemotherapy and radiation - no nausea or fatigue."
To show their support for Adams, more than a dozen staff members from the Infusion Clinic and other areas of UAB Medicine participated in the Magic City Cycliad bike ride on March 24. The signature event of the Deep South Cancer Foundation, the annual Cycliad raises money for patients at UAB's Comprehensive Cancer Center.
"They did it for me but also for all of the other cancer patients at UAB," says Adams, who is on medical leave and may not be able to return to work due to her ankle injury. Sarah Richardson, RN - one of Adamsí coworkers in the Infusion Clinic - helped organize the group effort.
"Riding in the Magic City Cycliad was just one way we could support Cathy," Richardson says. "She has been an oncology nurse for over 25 years and has cared for countless patients. One patient described her as 'an angel walking on Earth', and she has always put others first. When she was diagnosed, we were all shocked, and this was one thing we could do to show support. Our patients have all asked about her. Cancer has touched every family, and she is part of our UAB family. The Cycliad was a very well-run and fun event, and in typical Cathy fashion, she was there to cheer us on. It was amazing to see so many people fundraising in support of those battling cancer."
Adams says she was touched by the outpouring of support from her coworkers and the level of care she received from her longtime employer. "UAB took wonderful care of me," Adams says. "I have the best coworkers you could ever ask for. They helped get me to appointments, brought me food, whatever I needed. They're much more than coworkers, they're friends."