She’s fighting colon cancer with her tribe

<p><em><strong>Terry Moore can’t do it alone. She realizes that and is surrounded by a group of friends – each one has a role in her healing.</strong></em><br></p>
<p><em>By IU Health Senior Journalist T.J. Banes, </em><a href=””><em></em></a></p>
<p>There’s the “record keeper,” the “problem solver,” the “researcher,” and the “comedian.” Each one plays a vital role in Terry Moore’s cancer diagnosis and treatment. </p>
<p>These women have been friends for decades – they’ve stood up at weddings and stood on the sidelines of their kids’ sporting events. They aren’t about to let Moore stand on her own now. </p>
<p>“Terry reached out to us in the beginning. She’s very good about allowing us to provide support. She knows by excluding us from treatment it would hurt us,” said Susan Sjoquist.</p>
<p>On a recent weekday at IU Health Simon Cancer Center other patients were quietly reading a book, watching TV, or drifting in and out of sleep. Moore’s pod was filled with chatter and laughter. </p>
<p>“They have gone through this entire thing with me – taking notes, asking questions, and researching treatments,” said Moore. “We even offered to take a turn at chemo and offered to give her a stool sample,” adds Sjoquist. She’s the comedian. When things get tough, they all get serious but every now and then, they all need a good laugh. </p>
<p>Sjoquist wears a mask on this day. She’s fighting the sniffles. She and her husband just returned from a Caribbean get-away with Moore and her husband of 25 years Dean Estes. The couple has two boys Aaron, 24 and Adam, 21.</p>
<p>“We’re such good friends I even shared my Caribbean cold with her,” Sjoquist jokes. Rounding out the troop is Katie Kumler, Karen Cox, and Pam Haring. Kumler and Cox met Moore through work at Eli Lilly, where Moore is a research scientist. Haring and Sjoquist met Moore through their kids’ sports. </p>
<p>These women would do just about anything they could for their friend.</p>
<p>It was in the fall of 2014 when Moore was first diagnosed with colon cancer. “I was on Humira for arthritis and my rheumatologist realized I was anemic. He said I was bleeding somewhere,” said Moore. She had just turned 50. A colonoscopy showed she had colon cancer. </p>
<p>She sent a group text to her friends that she didn’t quite complete. What they saw were the words: “I have colon ca . . . . “ </p>
<p>“It was like she went radio silent,” said Kumler. “She totally left us hanging,” added Sjoquist. The group text messages became more and more routine as Moore began including her friends in her treatment plan. </p>
<p>March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month – a time to educate others about the signs and treatment of colon cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that people at average risk of colorectal cancer start regular screenings at age 45. Those who are considered at <em>average</em> risk do not have a personal or family history of colorectal cancer or polyps, a history of inflammatory bowel disease, a confirmed or suspected hereditary colorectal cancer syndrome, a personal history of getting radiation to the abdomen or pelvic area to treat a prior cancer. It is recommended people with increased risks begin screening before the age of 45.</p>
<p>“It wasn’t such a shock because cancer runs in my family,” said Moore. Her dad died of complications from lung cancer and had also been diagnosed with renal cancer. Her younger brother died of complications from lung cancer, and her stepmother died of complications from colon cancer. “I kind of always thought it wouldn’t be ‘if” I got it but when’ I got it,” said Moore. </p>
<p>Within a week of her diagnosis she was schedule for a colorectal resection. Lab work followed showing five out of nine lymph nodes were positive for cancer. She had Stage 3 colon cancer. </p>
<p>“I wanted to be at a teaching hospital so I chose IU Health,” said Moore. She is in the care of oncologist <a href=”″>Dr. Paul Helft</a>.</p>
<figure><img src=”{asset:390717:url}” data-image=”390717″></figure><p>After the first chemotherapy, Moore had a period of about 18 months where no cancer was detected. She finished the chemotherapy in the spring of 2015 and in August 2016 the cancer returned. She had radiation and when scans showed continued growth she went back on chemotherapy. </p>
<p>A native of Central Illinois, Moore graduated with a microbiology degree from the University of Illinois. She worked for a time at the University of North Carolina and moved to Indiana 20 years ago to work at Eli Lilly. With a strong science background, gene sequencing was important to her. She worked with the precision genomics team at IU Health and discovered she was a candidate for a drug trial. </p>
<p>It was on the first day of her new treatment that she was surrounded by her friends at IU Health Simon Cancer Center. </p>
<p>Together the women defined the roles of each member of the tribe. </p>
<p>“Karen is the problem solver and a servant; Katie is a researcher who bulldozes through information and digs through information to learn more about drug trials; Pam is a nurse so she keeps track of medicines and side effects and tends to the business at hand – like if Moore is getting proper nutrition, sleep and self care. Susan fills in the gaps – keeping them all cheerful and making sure Moore is emotionally strong,” the women collectively joined in. </p>
<p>“It works for me because they know what I need,” said Moore. “Someone is always with me. I never go it alone.” </p>

Two strangers join IU Health staff to save life; Patient says, “They’re My Angels”

When Debra Lambirth collapsed in the parking lot of IU Health Physicians Primary Care-Glendale, a stranger stopped to offer help. The outcome was nothing short of a miracle.

By IU Health Senior Journalist, T.J. Banes,

Six months – that’s about the amount of time Debra Lambirth thinks she may have lived if it hadn’t been for two strangers and a cluster of healthcare professionals.

A few minutes – that’s the amount of time that the two strangers were running late for a doctor’s appointment at IU Health Physicians Care-Glendale.

Seconds – that’s what stood between life and death.

“The stars were aligned. If anything had been any different, I don’t know that the outcome would have been the same,” said Julie Beaubien, the stranger who stopped to assist Lambirth.

It was Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019 – a day cemented in Lambirth’s memory. She had just left physical therapy at a nearby office, walked back across the parking lot, and stepped out of her car to smoke. Suddenly she felt like she couldn’t breathe.

“Just two months and seven days earlier I was the oldest graduate of Christel House Academy. I had my GED and I was looking forward to the life ahead of me,” said Lambirth. “One minute I felt fine and then I started getting real anxious and I started coughing,” said Lambirth, 65. She leaned on the hood of her sapphire blue Mitsubishi. At the same time, Beaubien and her two boys, Ashton, 10 and Greyson, 8, were leaving the two-story IU Health offices where Ashton had an appointment with Dr. Patrick Kelly.

“When we came out of the offices I could hear Debra coughing and I wondered why I could hear this woman coughing from so far away. When I got to her I asked if she wanted me to call 911 and she said ‘yes,’ but I could also see how serious it was,” said Beaubien.

What happened next is something Lambirth says saved her life.


While Beaubien stayed by the stranger’s side, her son Ashton ran back to the IU Health offices for help.

“I have a big heart, I had instructions and I was sort of aware of what was happening,” said Ashton, a fourth-grader at IPS School 91. On a typical day, this 10-year-old boy, who is a fan of Miami Marlins and Texas Rangers baseball enjoys reading “Diary of Wimpy Kid” books, and relaxing at home.

This day was different.

“I guess I kind of see myself as a hero, a lifesaver,” said Ashton. It was his sense of urgency that alerted the IU Health Physician staff to move quickly. “To be honest at first I thought maybe someone had fallen but the look on Ashton’s face was like ‘guys, this is serious and you need to move,’” said nurse Paula Kramer, who along with Nurse Practitioner Suzanne Lappas rushed to the parking lot and began chest compressions on Lambirth. The help and the supplies just kept coming from the IU Health Physician offices – gloves, AED Defibrillator and extra hands.

“It was a very horrible circumstance and not one that we experience every day at an outpatient clinic, but we were able to be there in the proper time and collectively work as a team,” said Lappas, whose nursing career spans 10 years, including experience in critical care. Kramer’s 25-year career includes ER experience.

“It was like we pulled together our experience and jumped into action. It was the natural thing to do,” said Kramer. “I often wondered how things would go if we were faced with a critical situation and I have no doubts now.”


Lambirth was initially transported to IU Health North and was then airlifted by LifeLine to IU Health Methodist Hospital. Lambirth’s sister, Vanessa Coleman, a nurse at IU Health Methodist, along with Lambirth’s daughter, Angela Lambirth were summoned to the hospital. Lambirth also has a son, Eric Lambirth, along with several grandchildren.

At Methodist Hospital, Lambirth underwent emergency surgery to clear heart blockages. She later had a third procedure. She remained a patient for six days and is in the care of IU Health cardiologist Dr. Ziad Jaradat.

Within days, Lambirth’s daughter was on a mission. She wanted to find the kind stranger who helped save her mom’s life. She canvased the area of IU Health Physician offices and stopped into the neighboring physical therapy office where Lambirth had received treatment on that Wednesday afternoon in August.

A worker in the office happened to know Beaubien. She refrained from providing a phone number so Lambirth’s daughter turned to social media to find the Good Samaritan who came to her mother’s aid.

“I received a random Facebook message and the next thing I knew I had an update on Debra,” said Beaubien.

Through that one act of kindness, the families are no longer strangers.

When Lambirth was released from intensive care, Beubien and Ashton paid her a visit.

“It’s hard for a kid to understand and grasp the impact he had, but there were about 20 family members with Debra and they all hugged us, gave us high-fives and thanked us,” said Beubien, who works as a commercial loan processor and closer. “I have no health experience but here we were at the right place.”

Since the first visit, Beubien and Ashton have kept in touch with Lambirth. They’ve visited her home, exchanged Christmas presents and tasted her homemade cookies. They also learned they have a few things in common – Lambirth, the second oldest of eleven children was born at IU Health Methodist Hospital. Ashton also entered the world at Methodist Hospital.

When they met up on a recent day, Lambirth had a tint of purple in her hair; Ashton had blue highlights.

“I owe so much to Ashton and Julie,” said Lambirth. She hasn’t had a cigarette since her hospital stay. She continues with regular check ups but says she is otherwise back to good health and ready to travel the world.

“I don’t know if I would be alive six months later if it hadn’t been for their kindness. They are my angels.”

Residents thanked for living the IU Health Way

During a recent visit to the West Central Region of IU Health, Dennis Murphy, president of IU Health, stopped by the Arnett Family Medicine Resident Program to thank the residents for living the IU Health Way. The Residents hosted a lunch for all team members in the Family Medicine office to show their appreciation for the support they provide on a daily basis.

Dr. Noor Bakroun, PGY-2 resident, stated, “Thank you to everyone for your support as we embark through the most important part of our medical career. I thought my undergraduate years would be the most memorable; then I thought my medical school years would be the most memorable to me, but really, it is this residency program I am in with all of you as part of it that will the most memorable to me. Looking forward to the next half of this program!”

Dr. Mustafa Hussain, PGY-2 resident, also said, “This lunch is an opportunity to appreciate all clinic staff for the wonderful work they do on a daily basis. It is a way for us, the Residents, to show gratitude. We truly enjoy the time we spend working in our clinic, and a huge part of that is due to the support, kindness, and hard work displayed by the front desk team, MAs, NPs, triage nurses, and all team members. They are not only an example of excellent team members, but also are an example of genuine people.”

Murphy also thanked the Family Medicine team for supporting the Residents. “Your role is essential in helping to train the Residents. You truly are shaping the future of healthcare and delivering on our promise.”

Providing the best healthcare takes a team.

Physician’s teenage son pushes for medical research into blood cancers

Ali Alhaddad, son of IU Health University Hospital’s Dr. Mohammad Alhaddad, is leading a team of high school students to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

By Maureen Gilmer, IU Health senior journalist,

Dr. Mohammad Alhaddad is one proud father. The IU Health University Hospital gastroenterologist has watched in appreciation as his eldest child has tackled the responsibility of raising $10,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Ali Alhaddad, a junior at Carmel High School, was tapped as an Indiana Student of the Year candidate by LLS, meaning he is leading a team of fellow students in advocating for more research of blood cancer diseases.

On his fundraising page, Ali writes that he is honored to participate in the seven-week fundraising campaign along with other high school students locally and around the country.

“I am proud to join the fight against blood cancer and am raising critical dollars in honor of Ty, a young hero who is in remission from a blood cancer, to be able to help people just like him around the world who are afflicted with life-threatening diseases.”

It might seem logical to assume that Ali plans to follow in his father’s footsteps and attend medical school, but both father and son say that’s not happening.

“Ali is more interested in engineering,” the physician said, “but he does have an inclination to help others. That makes me even a little prouder.”

The teen is active in many school clubs and has spent time volunteering at University Hospital.

To manage the campaign, which winds up March 14 with a gala in Indianapolis, Ali has taken a break from travel soccer and other activities.

“I go to bed, and he’s still up,” his father said. “When I wake up in the morning, he’s up.”

For his part, Ali said the hard work is not only teaching him good communication, marketing and business skills, it is also raising money for a good cause and throwing a little positivity back into what can seem like a bleak world.

“The Student of the Year program is a great opportunity for youth like myself to give back,” he said. “An intrinsic motivation for me … is to show people that there is still good going on in this world and it’s so close that they can join in and give back as well.”

Ali has not suffered leukemia or lymphoma, nor has anyone in his family, but he is passionate about doing his part to help those who have fought that fight or will be diagnosed with a blood disease in the future.

And that’s enough to make any parent proud.

Learn more about Ali and his LLS campaign here.

Photos submitted and by Mike Dickbernd, IU Health visual journalist,

A rainbow at the end of a storm.

The Williamson family makes a generous donation of a Cuddle Cot to the IU Health Foundation at Arnett Hospital.

Tim and Phyllis Williamson have had to endure a journey that no parents should ever have to experience. Traveling home to Cincinnati from visiting family during the holidays in Wisconsin, on December 30, 2017 the Williamsons were involved in a car accident on Interstate 65 that took the life of their first unborn daughter, Lydia Jessie. After being taken to IU Health Arnett Hospital, they received the highest of compassionate care from our Emergency Department and Labor and Delivery team members. Lydia Jessie was the first baby born sleeping on January 1, 2018 at IU Health Arnett Hospital. Lydia’s middle name was given to her after the supportive care received by Jessie Donchess, RN in the Emergency Department.

IU Health Arnett team members including Melissa Glaze, Peg Ponto, Jessie Donchess and Dr. Karen Regan worked to lay a brick in the remembrance healing garden in honor of Lydia Jessie Williamson.

Through their recovery journey, the Williamsons learned about the Cuddle Cot. Tim, Phyllis and their five month old daughter Cammie were in touch with the IU Health Foundation and decided to generously donate a Cuddle Cot in loving memory of their daughter, Lydia Jessie. This cot is a cooling bassinet that allows parents to spend more time together with their child at the bedside. The family drove back to IU Health Arnett and recently presented this precious gift for future families going through this tragic storm.

It is understood that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravage of the storm. It doesn’t mean that the storm never happened. What it means is that something beautiful has appeared. After every storm, there is a rainbow of hope. Thank you to the Williamson’s for allowing IU Health Arnett to help all of our future patients with the gift of time with their little loved ones.

IU Health Arnett hopes for all grieving families to find that hope, that rainbow, after the storm.

IU Health Arnett Cancer Center earns ARC Accreditation

IU Health Arnett Cancer Center has been awarded a three-year term of accreditation in radiation oncology as the result of a recent review by the American College of Radiology (ACR). Radiation oncology (radiation therapy) is the careful use of high-energy radiation to treat cancer. A radiation oncologist may use radiation to cure cancer or to relieve a cancer patient’s pain.

The ACR is the nation’s oldest and most widely accepted radiation oncology accrediting body, with over 700 accredited sites, and 30 years of accreditation experience. The ACR seal of accreditation represents the highest level of quality and patient safety. It is awarded only to facilities meeting specific Practice Guidelines and Technical Standards developed by ACR after a peer-review evaluation by board-certified radiation oncologists and medical physicists who are experts in the field. Patient care and treatment, patient safety, personnel qualifications, adequacy of facility equipment, quality control procedures, and quality assurance programs are assessed. The findings are reported to the ACR Committee on Radiation Oncology Accreditation, which subsequently provides the practice with a comprehensive report they can use for continuous practice improvement.

“We are proud to achieve this prestigious accreditation. Our staff has worked tirelessly to achieve this certification and it reflects our dedication to excellent patient care and services,” said Matthew Orton, MD, radiation oncologist with IU Health Arnett Cancer Center. “In awarding us ARC accreditation, ARC has provided us with the opportunity to celebrate the exceptional cancer care we provide to our patients and our commitment to the well-being of our community.”

The ACR is a national professional organization serving more than 36,000 diagnostic/interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists, nuclear medicine physicians, and medical physicists with programs focusing on the practice of medical imaging and radiation oncology and the delivery of comprehensive health care services.

Irsay pledges $1 million to IU Health for addiction services statewide

Indianapolis Colts owner & CEO Jim Irsay announced a $1 million pledge to the IU Health Foundation. This gift will be used by Indiana University Health, in its entirety, to increase access to addiction services for people in need across Indiana. Additionally, a portion of this generous gift will be matched from funding set aside by the IU Health Foundation Board of Directors to target our state’s most critical health needs.

“Addiction is terribly difficult for everyone involved, and it’s important that people aren’t shamed by this disease, because shame kills,” Irsay said. “IU Health has a tremendous program, and we are committed to partnering with them to address this problem across Indiana.”

A 2018 study conducted by Indiana University found that two in three Hoosiers know someone who is struggling with addiction. Thanks in part to recent funding from grants and philanthropic support, IU Health has significantly expanded access to addiction treatment statewide. The system has launched five regional addiction treatment recovery centers across the state, offering group, individual, and cognitive behavioral therapy along with aftercare, which offers needed support for patients after they complete the programs. Completion rates within these programs are above the national average of 40%, with some programs showing completion rates above 90%.

The centers at IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis and IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie employ “embedded” peer recovery coaches, people with lived experience in addiction who can effectively help others initiate and sustain recovery, in their emergency departments. Peer recovery coach services are available 24/7 statewide through virtual visits. Peer recovery coaching soon will be implemented within the IU Health system in primary care settings to increase access to addiction services.

“Providing quality care for Hoosiers experiencing addiction is a priority for IU Health,” said Karen Amstutz, IU Health Vice President of Community Health. “We have built a statewide infrastructure that enables us to reach people even in remote rural sections of Indiana. This gift will be instrumental in getting help to people who need it.”

IU Health also has created a standardized screening tool for Substance Use Disorder (SUD), which is rolling out across the state to identify people at risk for developing addiction. The system is piloting a virtual intensive outpatient program from its hub in Indianapolis to increase access and decrease transportation barriers to services. Finally, IU Health is expanding access to adolescent addiction services by offering virtual access to the ENCOMPASS program, an evidence-based therapy program for children and teens ages 10 to 18 who face a dual diagnosis of substance abuse and mental health disorders.

“IU Health is committed to making Indiana one of the healthiest states,” said Dennis Murphy, president and CEO of IU Health. “We are delighted to receive Mr. Irsay’s visionary support as a partner in addressing issues of addiction. This support will increase access for those seeking services across our state.”

Support IU Health Foundation

You can support solutions to the state’s most pressing health challenges with a contribution to the Statewide Area of Greatest Need. Learn more about the IU Health Foundation and its work to make Indiana a healthier state.

Two team members – One passion project – First hospital in Indiana

When IU Health Saxony social worker Claire Shawver and nurse Tai Oliver set their minds to helping a specific patient population, it became a passion project.

By IU Health Senior Journalist T.J. Banes,

They come in for knee replacements, heart ailments, and other illnesses. They don’t come in because they have memory loss. But the patient population at IU Health Saxony includes a high number of friends, parents, aunts, and uncles who show signs of dementia.

The term “dementia” is an umbrella for a variety of symptoms that ultimately are caused by memory loss. Patients may show signs of confusion, sadness and irritability.

When social worker Claire Shawver and nurse Tai Oliver noticed a trend, they began looking into ways that hospital caregivers could help – not just nurses, and doctors – but every employee at IU Health Saxony. They learned quickly that even employees not directly involved in patient care are part of a support system for patients with memory loss, their family and friends. So every employee at IU Health Saxony has completed a “Become a Friend” workshop making it the first hospital in the state to implement the program, administered by CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions.

“Because of this training, IU Health Saxony staff now can better engage, care for, and create the best experience possible for a patient with dementia,” said Dustin Ziegler, CICOA’s vice president of community programs.

“A patient may be standing in line at the cafeteria and need help counting money; they may be filling out forms at registration and need help with important information. We’re all here to help,” said Shawver who has worked at IU Health for five and half years.

The U.S. Census reports 86,550 citizens in the area between the ages of 45 and 64 and an additional 40,862 over the age of 65. On any given day one of those citizens can become a patient of IU Health Saxony. Now all staff members are equipped to recognize signs and symptoms of patients with dementia.

“We get involved at the point of admission. If a patient doesn’t remember what day of the week it is or what they had for breakfast, that may be a sign that they need assistance,” said Shawver. The memory loss doesn’t necessarily signal signs of dementia; it could be caused by certain medications or life events. But now, patients are recognized as needing a “dementia friend” – someone who advocates for their wellbeing.

What does that mean?

Once a patient is identified as having dementia or memory loss, a family member is given a “Getting to Know Me” worksheet to provide more information about the patient. Talking points include “The best way to communicate with me,” “Things that help me sleep,” and “The food I like to eat.” The paper remains in the patient’s room so that all caregivers may refer to the tips. If a family member isn’t available when a patient is admitted, a social worker may contact a family member to help provide information.

Some patients with memory loss have difficulty completing menu options and may need special assistance. Others may show signs of anxiety about being away from family and friends.

“During the process if we find a diagnosis or have a suspicion, staff members are alerted about the memory disorder and also certain triggers that we discover through the personal approach with the patient,” said Oliver, who has worked with IU Health for almost ten years. A tiny flower is then attached to the patient’s door – discreetly recognizing that this is a patient with memory loss.

Workshops are designed to help caregivers assist patients and their family members. Included in the workshop are “conversation tips:” Approach the patient from the front, identify yourself and make good eye contact; call the person by the preferred name; use short, simple phrases and repeat information as needed; speak slowly and clearly; wait for a response while the patient processes information. Other tips offered in the workshop include: Provide statements, rather than questions; offer visual cues, and try writing notes as reminders.

“Claire and I had talked about dementia patients before we started the Dementia Friends Indiana program. We wanted to find ways to make it a positive experience for nurses working with the patients and also for the patients,” said Oliver. “It’s already scary when you have a loved one come into the hospital and then a loved one with memory issues can make it more scary. This makes the staff more compassionate toward patients.”

Since the completion of the workshops, they have already assisted about half a dozen patients. In addition to understanding the patient’s communication needs, staff members have also been introduced to ways to help the patient cope. They may offer special activities such as word searches or activity balls to help with the stress of a hospital stay.

Over time they hope to offer the workshops in more IU Health facilities.

“So often this is something that goes undiagnosed. We want to meet the patient and family members where they are,” said Oliver. “Our goal is to provide a safe and compassionate environment. If family members want additional resources after the patient leaves the hospital, we will follow up and help guide them toward the next steps.”