May & June 2020
In this Issue:
Every year, a devoted team of CCOR employees join the hundreds of passionate participants in the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester's Pink Ribbon Walk and Run. While many people may know the story of our founder's sister and her struggle with breast cancer, they may not realize how deeply this disease has touched many of us at CCOR. Here are a few of those stories:
Let me begin by saying that I have been diligent about getting yearly mammograms since I was 40. This was on the advice of my doctor but also because my maternal Aunt died of breast cancer. A few years ago, I felt a rather large lump in my breast and called the Elizabeth Wende Breast Cancer Center for a mammogram. The doctor ran several tests, and the evening after the appointment, I got a call: it was breast cancer.
The surgeon said he wanted to try a lumpectomy, which was scheduled. Within the week, however, he said that he wasn’t able to get it all. Lumpectomies can be difficult because you cannot see the cancer. He wanted to try again, so I had another lumpectomy and got the same news.
That’s when I decided to have a double mastectomy. I wanted this cancer out of me and didn’t want to waste any more time. The surgery was done on the same day that my daughter went into labor with my grandson (she had him the next day). Since we were in the same hospital, I was able to go up and see them. I’m happy I decided to have a double mastectomy, because they found cancer in my right breast (a totally different kind of cancer).
I went home, healed, and went back to work. Then I started chemotherapy. I wanted to continue working as much as I could, so we did an experiment and started chemo on a Thursday. After the chemo, I was able to work that day and Friday before I felt horrible on Saturday. For nearly three days, I could barely crawl onto the couch. By Monday afternoon, I would start feeling better, so, back to work I went. I worked Tuesday–Friday every week. After the chemo, I had to do radiation every day for two months. I worked every day through the radiation. If I didn’t work as much as I could, I feel I would have just given up.
My husband, my girls, my sisters, my in-laws, and all my co-workers at CCOR were very supportive and kept me going through it all. My husband made me filet mignon every Wednesday before chemo. One of my co-workers took care of me at work, brought me my favorite “Ding Dong cake” several times, and brought me flowers. CCOR and the QA department kept me in flowers while I was home. I am now cancer free and almost done with all my treatments, which I hope will be finished in July.
My recommendation to all women is to make sure you check yourself every month, because had I not, my cancer would have never been found before it was too late. Mammograms don’t always tell.
My Gran Jessie was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 67. She took her diagnosis well and was positive the whole way through her treatment. She had to travel to the next city over (Glasgow, Scotland) five days a week for six weeks of treatment. Never once did you hear her complain. She beat her battle and lived a great life for 20 more years, passing away at age 87.
My uncle got breast cancer. Yes, you read that correctly. My uncle. Less than 1% of all breast cancers occur in men, but it can happen nevertheless. In fact, the American Cancer Society predicts that 520 men will die of breast cancer this year in the United States.
My uncle first noticed a discharge on his t-shirt. He got it checked out, and it turns out he has a mutation in the gene known as BRCA 2, which leads to increased risk of breast cancer. After surgery and medication, it seemed to be under control. Five years later, he had to have a second surgery---the other breast.
In 2017, my son Patrick was diagnosed with breast cancer. While at home for a visit, he noticed something odd while stepping out of the shower. I immediately knew something about this was ominous and told him, “I think you have breast cancer.” I contacted Elizabeth Wende Breast Cancer Center and miraculously got an appointment for the very next day. We were met by a wonderful doctor who listened to our concerns, acted on this information, and moved at lightning speed. (We went from diagnosis on October 6 to surgery on October 25.)
Dr. Levat and the team at Elizabeth Wende and Dr. Yellin and his team at Rochester General Hospital worked together to care for him quickly and efficiently. They also showed much, much love, kindness, and concern for his wellbeing. We are truly thankful to live in an area with so many talented, dedicated doctors. They and their teams not only take care of people with this awful disease, they are ready to lend a hand, offer a shoulder to lean on, give a reassuring hug, or just be there to answer a question. We are truly blessed. We have some years to go in the remaining treatment and are always vigilant, but we know we have these dedicated people in our lives willing to give it their all for us.
My aunt’s breast cancer story became the reason why my father started CCOR in the first place. Even though my aunt died in 1997, I am proud of what my family has built in her honor. Not only does she live on in this company, she lives in our hearts as well.
The most precious memories I have of Aunt Muriel are when we visited the beach in Canada---she loved the beach! She would jump in the waves with us and help us find sand dollars! Muriel also loved Christmastime! Every Christmas she would bring lots of gifts and each present was very special and unique. We all loved her most for her laughter and humor. Muriel always had a smile on her face, even when she wasn’t feeling well.
I think the most important thing we can do for people like my aunt and for the breast cancer cause is to continue to remember the lives that have touched us and learn more on preventing this disease.
CCOR offices will be closed
May 25 for Memorial Day.
Enjoy your holiday! Stay safe and healthy.
Welcome to CCOR!
Diana Ortiz, Geneva CDPAP Coordinator
Ellen Sadler, Health Homes Care Manager
Congratulations on Your New Positions!
Elise Arneson, Recruiter of ENY
Kourtney Deisenroth, Children's Health Homes Lead Care Manager
Kierra Martin, HR Compliance Coordinator
Save the Date: 2020 Summer Picnic
It's coming...(it really is)...the CCOR annual Summer Picnic! Mark your calendars for Saturday, August 8.
There’s no quarantine on generosity. We know our CCOR employees are as comfy as can be in their favorite jeans or softest pajama pants. Our office has instituted denim days every day of the week during the COVID-19 social distancing regulations. But that doesn’t mean employees still can’t donate. The dedicated work of these charities and the countless lives they touch are a perfect reason to donate. In fact, during these difficult months our community needs our generosity more than ever before.
In March, we raised $250 for the Brain Injury Association of New York State. Many of our clients live with Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs). In addition to raising funds for this important cause, we raised awareness by wearing blue on March 13.
In April, we joined the fight against Parkinson’s by raising $60 for for Rock Steady Boxing, an organization that uses boxing drills to help slow the progression of Parkinson’s.
What's YOUR favorite charity?
If you know of a charitable organization that resonates with the CCOR mission, then we want to know about it! Email your suggestion to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In May, we’ll be coming to the aid of the Dimitri House, a non-for-profit organization that provides food, shelter, and services to Rochester’s most vulnerable communities. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, their Emergency Food Cupboard has been utilized more than ever before and is in severe need of replenishment.
In June, CCOR will raise money for the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI). According to NAMI, one out of every five Americans has a mental health condition, and their mission is to provide support, education, and advocacy to those affected by mental illness. They firmly believe that people with mental health challenges can live "healthy, fulfilling lives supported by a community that cares."
National Nurses Week begins on May 6! And we’d like to highlight our CCOR nursing dream team. When it comes to home care, these all-star nurses always hit home runs!
When it comes to spending time with her client, our March Aide of the Month, Donna Thompson says, “It’s just like being at home with one of your sisters. You’re laughing and joking and talking. It’s like being with a family member.” Every day at work, Donna makes a genuine connection and gets genuine fulfillment in return.
Homecare work wasn’t always Donna’s career. For 25 years, she worked in a factory that made parts for TVs, radios, and telephones. Ever the team player, Donna worked many jobs in the factory, easily filling in where she was needed. When she wasn’t working, however, Donna found herself helping the older adults in her neighborhood. “That’s just pretty much the way things are with me. Wherever I moved, there was somebody elderly. I got close to them, and I started doing different things for them. I’d take them to the grocery store, or I’d take them to do a few errands…whatever they got to do.”
Homecare work, then, was a natural fit for Donna. Not only is she drawn to helping older adults, she has been surrounded by Christian values for her entire life. Donna was raised in a strong, church-going family. Her father was a deacon and her mother, a deaconess. She met her husband at church, and his family was equally as faithful and devoted as her own. Today, Donna serves as a church usher and attends bible study every week. She remains a living example of her values and tries to be a blessing to everyone she meets.
As a homecare aide, Donna works hard, and she works from the heart. She sets the table, helps the client shower and get dressed, cooks a delicious breakfast, and washes the dishes. But when she’s not cleaning or tending to the client’s needs, she enjoys her time connecting with the client. They sometimes watch game shows and try to see to who can get the most correct answers. “I’ve been with [my client] through quite a bit,” says Donna. She’s helped her client attend baby showers, weddings, and even funerals.
Through it all, Donna strives to live the golden rule. “You treat people the way you want to be treated,” she says. This extends to the generous way she works with her fellow aides. “They’re awesome,” she says of her coworkers. “We got a good team. We all do it together. I love my team.”
Donna is a beautiful example of the kind of whole-hearted care CCOR strives to provide. She serves her client with kindness, diligence, and heartfelt friendship--the way anyone would love to be treated. “In the summer, we sit on the porch,” says Donna, with a smile on her face. “We sit out there and soak up some sun and just watch the cars go by and talk.”
In the face of stressful times, April Aide of the Month, Dellesha Ervin, is the type of caregiver our clients are lucky to have. Pleasant, calm, and up-beat, she gets the job done, no matter what. Challenges are no match for the positive attitude that Dellesha brings to her work every day.
Caregiving comes naturally to Dellesha, who has been surrounded by loving caregivers all her life. Growing up, she was inspired by her mother and aunt, both nurses. As a teenager, she helped her father take care of his wife, who was suffering from MS. “It’s fulfilling to help people,” she says.
With such strong examples of caregiving, it is no wonder that Dellesha followed in her family footsteps and became a caregiver in 2004. In 2019, Dellesha came to work for CCOR, bringing to the job her years of experience and her calm, competent attitude. Whether it’s finishing the laundry or helping the client to the bathroom, she completes all her tasks with ease and grace. She also endeavors to lighten the workload for the next shift.
“You’ve got to have a lot of patience,” says Dellesha, about being a home care aide, and patience is something she has in abundance. She is always mindful that she is in someone else’s home and always tries to make the client feel comfortable and in control. Even during such stressful times as the COVID-19 pandemic, Dellesha is adept at keeping herself and her client calm.
For her, fighting COVID-19 means doing more of what she has always done. Dellesha has always been conscientious about handwashing and keeping surfaces clean. Now, however, she and the other aides she works with wash their hands with extra careful attention. As soon as she walks in the door, she heads straight to the kitchen where she washes her hands thoroughly. She also disinfects door handles, counters, and everything she or the client touches more often than ever before.
In her free time, Dellesha enjoys having dinner with friends and traveling. Though both of these activities are currently on hold for the time being, Dellesha remains in a positive state of mind. She has enjoyed a Jamaican cruise and trips to Atlanta, Las Vegas, Memphis, and New Orleans. Even though she has had to reschedule a couple of upcoming trips, she looks forward to the time when she can and will travel again.
Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has brought about unsettled times, there are those like Dellesha who have kept their heads. Her calm, positive attitude has not only brought comfort to her clients, it serves as an example for us all to follow.
How to Shop Safely During the Covid-19 Outbreak
by Sandy Lyons-Jackson
We have all been focused on staying at home as much as possible, but how can we safely go out and get items we need? Begin with a well laid plan: a thorough grocery list. Consider how you can make the most out of your shopping trip; can you reasonably get all you need at one stop? Your mission will be to get everything you need while minimizing exposure to risks:
1. Make a grocery list. Take time to organize your list in the order of the store you are shopping in:
a. Organize by department: produce, meat, deli, dairy, grocery, freezer, pharmacy, baby items, etc.
b. Organize in the order you will be moving through the store.
2. Stick to your list; stay focused. Go alone for no distractions. Think to yourself, “Get what I need and get out.”
3. It is time to go. Wear long sleeves, pants, and a pair of old shoes you can leave outside, in the garage, or in the hallway.
4. Wear a mask. You can find instructions on how to make a mask online—sewing is not a requirement. Gloves are for cross contamination; they are not necessary if you keep your hands away from your face.
5. After parking your car, ensure your mask is on.
6. Go into the store. Do NOT grab the cart until you have a disinfectant wipe in your hand to grab it with.
7. Wipe down the entire handle of your cart, then throw the wipe away in the garbage.
8. Disinfect your hands with the provided hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer is hard to find these days, so use theirs whenever possible.
9. Off you go. Try to get in and out of the store within 15 to 20 minutes.
10. Just before checking out, sanitize your hands. Don’t grab your wallet before doing this. Don’t see any? Use the hand sanitizer at the front entrance if necessary.
11. After check out, use hand sanitizer one more time for the road.
12. Unload your groceries into the trunk/back of your car.
13. Once in your car, remove your mask if no more stops. If you have another stop, review number 6 on…
14. Once home, unload groceries and place them near your door. Remove your shoes before entering.
15. Once inside, change your clothes if able. If not, you are taking a minor risk.
16. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water.
17. Now, unpack your groceries. Disinfect as needed. Use extra attention in washing your produce.
18. Don’t forget to disinfect your reusable bags before returning to your car.
19. Wash your hands when done.
Mission accomplished. Stay safe and stay home.
Interested in joining the CCOR Safety Committee to help with their initiatives? The committee meets about six times a year and has openings. Contact Sandy Lyons-Jackson at (585) 546-1600.