DAYTON — Kathy “Gueth” McCarthy, a 1982 Greenville Senior High School graduate, remembers a time when pink ribbons for breast cancer did not exist.
McCarthy is coordinator of the Miami Valley Hospital Breast Center and the Miami Valley Hospital South Breast Center. Due to her work as a medical professional fighting the disease, she was recognized as “Champions of Hope” Honoree, receiving the Medical Professional Award at the Miami Valley’s Hospital Foundation’s “Champions of Hope” event, and received recognition during the “Champions of Hope” ceremony at Miami Valley Hospital, in Dayton, Tuesday.
Honorees were selected by a volunteer committee composed of community volunteers and area clinicians, in conjunction with the Miami Valley Hospital Foundation. In addition to McCarthy, other honorees include: survivor Ryan Davis; caregiver Nancy DeRoo and person of inspiration Jenell Ross. McCarthy was nominated by her boss Mary Jackson.
“I don’t do well with public recognition,” McCarthy said. “I am just doing my job and hopefully doing it well. To be told I am being recognized for what I do makes me feel very honored, but I would be happy going along doing my job, and doing it well.”
McCarthy also received a proclamation from the House of Representatives of the 132nd General Assembly of Ohio, under the sponsorship of Represenatives Niraj J. Antani (District 42) and Jim Butler (District 41).
McCarthy said the main reason she went into the field of treating breast cancer was due to her mom Jacqueline Gueth, who lost her battle to the disease in 1983. McCarthy’s sister Mary is a survivor.
“I was four-years-old when mom was diagnosed in 1967,” McCarthy said. “It was a long rough battle back in the day when nobody discussed breast cancer openly, and screenings didn’t exist. We’ve come a very long way.”
McCarthy has been in the field for 30 years, and has witnessed many improvements along the way. In the past 10 years, two of the biggest has been with digital mammography and now 3-D mammography. 3-D mammography is an U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved advanced technology that takes multiple images, or X-rays, of breast tissue to recreate a 3-D picture of the breast.
“I love that there is just so much more help with that diagnosis then there was back in the early 1960’s/70’s, and to a certain extent, the 80’s,” she said. “I love that we can help find it early, and it is important to me that we can do that, so that hopefully for the newly diagnosed, that path is not the same as it was for my mom.”
McCarthy’s sister Market Manager of Staffmark Mary Lane, of Greenville, said she is very proud of the recognition her sister received as a Champion of Hope award winner.
“She is and always has been very passionate about her job,” Lane said. “As a cancer survivor, I would say I am very thankful for that passion. She helped me through a difficult time.”
While McCarthy does not seek recognition for her work in the breast cancer field, she receives satisfaction through internal rewards.
“The rewards that I see are when we find an early cancer on a mammogram, that without the newest technologies would have taken a year or longer to find,” she said. “Also, the reward of knowing we are doing everything we can to find it early, so that the long-term prognosis is far better than it was. I have said for my whole career, if I would be out of a job because they found a cure or prevention for breast cancer, I would be fine with that. Thirty years is a long time to be saying that.”
Innovative Care Solutions was the major sponsor for the “Champions of Hope” ceremony. Proceeds will enhance and expand integrative therapies for Miami Valley Hospital oncology patients, including: specialized exercises, yoga, massage, Qigong/Tai Chi, water exercises and therapeutic art. Proceeds also support a snack cart for infusion patients, and a discretionary fund for patients with unanticipated expenses associated with their treatment. For more information, visit the Foundation’s website at www.mvhfoundation.org