October 29, 2010

Nurse Runs to Raise Funds for Mother's and Aunt's Fight against Breast Cancer

Theresa Oles runs for her life every day. This fall, the nurse anesthesist who goes running to unwind, is pounding the pavement to fight breast cancer in the Chicago Breast Cancer Network of Strength marathon. "My mother is a breast cancer survivor, and so is my aunt, and I wanted to combine my love of running with giving back," said Oles, who raised almost $2,000 through her participation. The 32-year-old Chicago woman participates in three to four surgeries per day as a certified registered nurse anesthesist at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, part of Loyola University Health System. "Surgery is very stressful and you need to be focused on what you're doing. Running clears my head and helps prepare me to focus clearly on the day ahead," said Oles, who waits for the doors to open at the Gottlieb Center for Fitness at 5:30 a.m. "I run the treadmill for about an hour, then shower and dress for work. I walk the hallway to the hospital operating room and feel ready for anything." News five years ago of her mother's breast cancer threw Oles into "professional nurse" mode. "My mother told me that her doctor's office called, and, rather than just sending a clean bill of health through the mail as happened in years' past, they wanted her to come in," Oles said. "I immediately knew that something was wrong and told her that my dad or I would be accompanying her to Loyola - she would not go alone as she was planning." "My mom's family has a history of breast cancer, and my mom's older sister had breast cancer. My mom gets a mammogram faithfully every year, so this was discovered early," Oles said.

Oles feels running helps protect her own health and is thrilled that her running is also helping to safeguard the health of others through the fund-raising campaign. "My mom and my aunt were really excited that their journey had inspired me to represent them at the race and they were my biggest fans," she said. She made a flier and shared it with colleagues at Loyola Gottlieb. "Everyone was very generous in supporting me," she said. "I purposely chose to work at Gottlieb because it is a community hospital, and people here are very close and friendly." The nurse will continue to run long-distance races, and has a goal of entering - and completing - the Boston marathon. "My mother and aunt are battling breast cancer and winning; my challenge of running the Boston marathon is nothing in comparison," she said.

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 92 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 129,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.