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Feature Article

We Are All in This Together

On Sept. 10, Sonia Graham was scheduled for her last chemotherapy appointment in the Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital Infusion Center. She looked forward to celebrating this milestone with the care team who had been by her side throughout her treatment. But nature had other plans.

On Sept. 9, unseasonably high winds spread the Echo Mountain Fire so close to the hospital in Lincoln City that its patients and staff had to be evacuated. This affected both inpatients and outpatients, including Sonia. She would have to receive her anticipated final treatment at Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital in Newport instead.

“I think I had reached my breaking point,” Sonia said. “I was nervous and disappointed not to be able to celebrate with the people who’d gone through this journey with me.”

Sonia entered the unfamiliar Newport hospital with trepidation. Coincidentally, an employee who Sonia knew from the community happened to be by the entrance. Sonia’s eyes lit up at the sight of a familiar face and the employee walked her to the hospital’s beautiful new Infusion Center, speaking words of reassurance along the way. By the time her treatment began, Sonia knew she was in good hands.

“The Newport staff was awesome. I quickly calmed down and felt very comfortable,” Sonia said. “They even gave me a congratulatory gift box with a personally signed card.”

During this challenging year, the phrase, “We are all in this together,” has become cliché. But Sonia’s story demonstrates the power in those words.

Thanks to community support, the Pacific Communities Health District Foundation purchased artwork, treatment chairs, monitors and other equipment for the Infusion Center. As a matter of fact, shortly after receiving her cancer diagnosis, Sonia Graham launched a Facebook campaign for the coastal Samaritan Foundations CAN Cancer funds. This fund helps low income patients with non-medical expenses related to their well-being, such as transportation and utilities. Sonia’s supervisor shaved her head when the campaign reached $5,000! Sonia’s ability to focus on the needs of others while navigating her own challenges truly exemplifies the spirit of giving.