Amy Reed, a registered nurse, and Dr. Jen Laughlin, a hospitalist with St. Charles Medical Group, know how to help and heal patients.
But when their friend Tracy Parmele – manager of continuing medical education for St. Charles – was diagnosed with cancer recently, both women felt out of place, not knowing what to do.
“Being in the health care profession, normally when we are caring for a patient there is something we can do,” said Reed, clinical education manager for St. Charles. “When dealing with a friend, we have to be respectful that we are not her doctor or her nurse.”
So when Parmele sent a photo of her newly shaved head after her first few chemotherapy treatments, Reed said she knew what to do.
“I just thought, ‘I’m going to shave my head to show my support,’” Reed said. “My inspiration was knowing that Tracy is fighting the battle of her life right now.”
On July 15 at 12 p.m., on the patio outside of the new St. Charles Cancer Center, local hair stylists will shave Reed’s head and cut Laughlin’s hair short. Both women are donating their hair to Locks of Love, a nonprofit that provides wigs to cancer patients. Jeff Papke, executive director of Cascades East AHEC, also plans to shave his head to support Parmele.
The event will be open to caregivers and the public, light refreshments will be served, T-shirts will be sold and the team is hoping to raise a minimum of $1,000 for the Tracy Parmele Fund of the St. Charles Foundation. The money raised will go to purchase a brick in Parmele’s honor in the cancer center’s healing garden. Donations can also be made directly to St. Charles Foundation. Anyone who donates a minimum of $25 will receive a T-shirt for free.
“We just know what a wonderful person Tracy is,” Reed said. “I like the idea of working with Tracy to design what she wants on her brick and knowing that her many contributions to St. Charles will be honored in this way.”
Any donations raised above $1,000 will go toward the purchase of bricks to honor long-time St. Charles caregivers Teddy Richardson and Nancy Simonson, who have both recently been diagnosed with cancer.
For more information, contact Amy Reed at email@example.com.