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2021 Lights of Love Tree Lighter Phoebe Worth Campus

Help brighten the lives of cancer patients throughout Southwest Georgia

2021 Tree Lighter, Phoebe Worth Medical Center, Carole Marchant

Phoebe Worth Medical Center, Tree Lighting Ceremony: Tuesday, November 30, 2021 @ 7 p.m.

Much like her reaction when an emergency hysterectomy revealed a rare mixed Mullerian tumor of the uterus, when Phoebe Worth’s Carole Marchant was approached about serving as this year’s Lights of Love tree lighter for Worth County, it initially wasn’t something she wanted any part of.

Not that she didn’t want to do her part to help others, or that she doesn’t support the initiative or the beloved hospital where the long-time nurse serves as Supply Chain/EVS Manager and Biomed/IT Coordinator. Quite the contrary.

“I’m fully dedicated to this hospital,” Carole said of the place she’s worked for 47 years. “I love the people here. I love the patients. They’re the reason we’re here. And I love the whole health system as well. I’m fully dedicated.

“I feel good when I leave this hospital each day that maybe I’ve helped somebody. I love it.”

What Carole doesn’t love, however, is being the center of attention and having folks make a big a fuss over her.

Again, not that she doesn’t appreciate the love and support she’s received from family and friends since first being diagnosed in October of 2017; she’s forever grateful for that.

“I appreciate the prayers,” she said. “Don’t get me wrong.

“I’m just the type that wants to help somebody else. That caring hand is for somebody else. That’s just what I do.”

Carole’s desire to keep her focus on caring for others is so strong, in fact, that remains front and center even when discussing everything she personally went through—surgery, several rounds of chemotherapy and radiation—following that diagnosis.

“I did not stay out of work,” Carole said matter-of-factly. “Half the people here didn’t even know I had cancer. I only told those that needed to know. During that whole time I was taking chemo and radiation, I kept working. Sometimes I came over here after treatment and worked and then went home. I had to beg them to let me come back after my surgery. I just wanted to keep working.

“I’m just the type who needs to stay busy. So I just kept working. I think it helped.”

“I struggled, but I made it.”

Part of that struggle, Carole said, was that leading up to her diagnosis and throughout her treatments, she was busy not only taking care of patients and co-workers, but she was also primary caregiver for her husband, a diabetic who had suffered a stroke, and her ailing mother, who passed away about a year ago.

“I just had to see about everybody else,” she said. “That’s what I do. I didn’t want people worrying about me. I’m the one taking care of people.”

Despite her resolve—and the fact that it was ultimately the Lord who guided her through, as her cancer is now in remission—with the benefit of hindsight, Carole does admit that had she allowed herself to focus on her own health a little more closely, she might not have endured the painful start to her cancer journey, when incredible abdominal pain, cramping and bleeding led her first to the ER and then into emergency surgery in 2017.

“The signs were there, but I ignored them,” Carole, who has an extensive history of cancer within her family, said. “I should have listened. When you’re body’s telling you something, don’t ignore it.”

Fortunately, Carole said, once she did seek help, her incredible medical team knew exactly what to do, and for that she is eternally grateful.

“The medical professionals were exceptional,” Carole said. “From my GYN doctor, Dr. Graff, to my Phoebe Worth family and everyone else at Phoebe, including Dr. McAfee and his staff, were phenomenal. I had my chemo at Phoebe Worth Cancer Center in Sylvester and I have to say Dr. Gadde and everyone at that clinic showed my family and me such compassion.”

In fact, it’s that kind of love and support, along with Carole reflecting on her many years of supporting Relay for Life and other initiatives to support those impacted by cancer, that led to her to finally accept the invitation to serve as tree lighter.

“I don’t like all the attention, I really don’t, but I need to do it; I should help,” Carole said. “That’s what we’re here for, the patients. I’m one of those people too. “

“My message to others facing cancer is, just know there is hope.”