Local Breast Cancer Survivor shares Story of Survival and Encourages Awareness through Ozarks Healthcare Foundation’s Mobile Mammography Campaign
Dianne Hoover is a West Plains local by way of transplant, a mother, grandmother, widow, and breast cancer survivor.
Having been connected to healthcare through working as an associate assistant for the Ozarks Healthcare Foundation almost 20 years ago and later as Volunteer Director for Ozarks Healthcare At Home: Hospice (at the time, Ozarks Medical Center Riverways), Dianne was no stranger to the medical field or the word “cancer.”
Dianne’s role in healthcare took on a new meaning when her husband, Rick, received a diagnosis of myelodysplastic syndrome, a disorder caused the production of blood cells is disrupted, from Dr. Charles Morgan at Ozarks Healthcare’s Cancer Treatment Center.
To spend more time as a caregiver for her husband during his illness, Dianne transitioned to serving as Volunteer Director of Ozarks Healthcare’s Hospital. During his care, Dianne said she was reminded that she was beginning to ignore her own health.
“I retired early from the hospital for him,” Dianne said. “In those 4 years, I neglected myself which is what caregivers sometimes do. I put off things like mammograms.”
While Dianne’s husband received care at Ozarks Healthcare’s Cancer Treatment Center, Monica Oaks, mammogram technologist at Ozarks Healthcare, became Dianne’s figurative angel on her shoulder, reminding her of the importance of checking in on her own health.
“I had gotten to know Monica through our volunteer dinners,” Dianne said. “She would come and help and was just wonderful. Every time she would see me and my husband in the Cancer Treatment Center, she would say you need to have your mammogram! That sweet little face – she was always telling me.”
After Dianne’s husband passed away, she knew something was not right with her health, but a diagnosis of breast cancer took Dianne by surprise.
“I knew I wasn’t well,” she said. “I started on my medical list and worked my way down. Because of Monica, I made my appointment to get my mammogram when I maybe would have put it off longer. I feel like she saved my life. I caught it early and feel like it was a huge blessing.”
Dianne had her cancer surgically removed just a few months after her husband’s passing. While her surgery was successful, the news of a cancer diagnosis is something Dianne says she will never forget.
“You never know how you’re going to feel until you hear those words,” Dianne said. “Even with my experience working in healthcare and being in the hospital, those words when they are talking about you are just mind-blowing. You think about everything in life you could miss out on. I have grandchildren and children. It hits you hard and you think about all the things you could miss out on. You start playing it over and over in your mind - all the things you don’t want to think about. But I have so much faith in our Cancer Treatment Center and doctors and having them there to help me navigate the system made me so much more comfortable then if I were someone who didn’t have any of that. I wouldn’t go anywhere else. We’re so blessed and lucky to have what we do here.”
While Dianne has always been an advocate for breast cancer awareness, especially since her sister and aunt passed away from the disease, Dianne said she never thought the impact would affect her so directly. Because of her experience and enthusiasm for our health system, Dianne decided to share her story and make a special donation to the Ozarks Healthcare Foundation’s fundraising campaign for a mobile mammography unit. Dianne is making it her personal goal to schedule her mammograms regularly and wants to encourage other women to do the same.
“I put off things during COVID, and I know others did too,” Dianne said. “I will be better about scheduling mammograms now. Catching it early is one of the best diagnoses there is.”
The Ozarks Healthcare Foundation, established in 1998 as a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) with a local board of directors, serves as a liaison between donors and Ozarks Healthcare to assist the hospital in providing excellent healthcare to the communities it serves. For more information or to make a gift to the Ozarks Healthcare Foundation, please call 417-853-5200 or visit https://www.ozarkshealthcare.com/support-us/foundation/.
Ozarks Healthcare is a system of care encompassing primary care and specialty clinics, along with complete rehabilitation, behavioral healthcare, and home health services. While the 114-bed acute care hospital cares for more than 5,400 admissions, the entire health system has more than 364,000 patient visits annually in South Central Missouri and Northern Arkansas. For more information about Ozarks Healthcare, visit www.OzarksHealthcare.com.
Dianne Hoover, breast cancer survivor, makes a donation to the Ozarks Healthcare Foundation for its current mobile mammography unit campaign. Pictured from left to right are Monica Oaks, mammogram technologist at Ozarks Healthcare, Josh Reeves, Vice President of Development at Ozarks Healthcare, Dianne Hoover, and Glenda Kentner, mammogram technologist at Ozarks Healthcare.