Steven Haber: Handmade face masks symbolize a grateful heart
Written and submitted by Steven Haber and Amanda Neal
Amanda Neal: "One of the many wonderful parts of my job at Beebe Medical Foundation is that I get to do personal outreach to people who have made a gift to support the hospital. Recently, I had the pleasure of calling a vivacious lady named Eve. When Eve made her online donation, her comment was, “In honor of my friend, Steven, whose life Beebe saved,” so when I called to thank her for her donation, I had to ask about her comment. She told me her friend Steven had sewn a custom face mask for her. In lieu of reimbursement to him, he asked Eve to make a donation to a charity of her choice – or to Beebe Healthcare. Eve said I should call Steven to better understand his deep appreciation for Beebe. I did call Steven, and this is his story:"
In 2010, a year after moving to Rehoboth from Washington D.C., I was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. After seven years of watchful waiting, I was treated and went into remission. I began some non-chemotherapy treatments at Tunnell Cancer Center, and in late 2017, my doctors did a scan and found a mass on my kidney, diagnosed as clear cell renal carcinoma. My left kidney was removed Dec. 9, 2017.
The very next day after being released, I began having chest pains and my husband, Eric, took me to Beebe’s Emergency Department, where their team sprang into action. A rapid troponin test showed that I was in critical condition. “You have had a heart attack,” I was told. My left anterior descending artery was 100 percent blocked. I was taken into surgery where Dr. Mouhanad Freih bypassed the blockage by inserting two stents.
After a few days’ recovery, I was referred to Beebe’s Cardiac Rehabilitation group where I was told about Beebe’s Ornish Program. This program is nationally recognized to prevent, stop and even reverse the progression of heart disease. I was grateful that my insurance would pay for the program, and I’m proud to say that I’m a graduate! I love the Ornish program – the support, workouts, food and community that keep me healthy – so much that I became a volunteer!
I wasn’t meant to die on Dec. 10, 2017. From the nurses and doctors to the food services and environmental services teams, and my Ornish family, I am so very appreciative of the care that I have received at Beebe. As a transplant from Washington, D.C., I know how lucky we are here to be able to get great care from excellent doctors in state-of-the-art facilities without the hassle of hopping in taxicabs or wrangling parking garages.
So yes, during this temporary hiatus from my Ornish Program volunteer work at Beebe, I am sewing face masks. I’ve donated almost 250 masks to Beebe, and I’ve made some for friends so everyone stays safe. It warms my heart to know that Eve and some of my other friends have chosen to donate to Beebe. Thank you, Beebe!
As a community-based, not-for-profit healthcare system, Beebe Healthcare depends on the generous support of individuals, local businesses, corporations and private foundations. To make a gift to Beebe Healthcare in support of the COVID-19 Relief Fund or any of the hospital's other initiatives, go to www.beebemedicalfoundation.org or call 302-644-2900.