From Cancer to Donors: Advocates for Exalta Health

While working as a medical transcriptionist, Dawn heard about Exalta Health from longtime volunteer Dr. Jim Samuelson. At the time she and Bobby, her husband of 37 years, did not have insurance, so it was a blessing that they both were able to become patients at Exalta Health.

The dimensions of that blessing would become clear last summer. As a teenager, Dawn had battled thyroid cancer and after treatment had been given a clean bill of health. But after surgery to fix a detached retina, her recovery saw her spend weeks only able to look downward. This caused a sore neck, and one day while rubbing her neck, Dawn felt a hard spot. Concerned she called her primary care provider, Exalta Health medical director Dr. Laura VanderMolen.

Laura quickly saw Dawn and then immediately began making phone calls to help Dawn find the best care possible. That care revealed a lump the size of a plum: metastasized thyroid cancer which had been growing inward and thus was undetected for over three decades. Dawn had surgery and was hospitalized for 28 days. But she kept her faith and received much-needed support from not only Bobby but also her Exalta Health family. Laura and Kristen Meyer, Exalta Health’s Chaplain, both visited Dawn in the hospital, something Dawn and Bobby will never forget.

“Dr. Laura listens,” Dawn recalled recently. “If you notice something, she is always willing to pursue it. I am very thankful for her and for Exalta Health. The mission is incredible. Exalta Health is the coolest place ever!”

Bobby concurs. In addition to what Exalta Health has provided his wife, he noted that he has also found great care thanks to staff physician Dr. Chris Shoemaker. Of his relationship with Chris, Bobby simply said: “He has been a good friend of mine. He sincerely cares.”

Now both Dawn and Bobby have become evangelists for Exalta Health, telling anyone they meet that there is no better place to get wholistic health care. They also pray for the clinic. And because they are now in a better place financially than when they first came to the clinic, they made a donation this year.

In Bobby’s words: “This place has opened up a ministry for my wife and me. God has blessed us.”