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Legend advocates for state-of-the-art cancer care for Campbell County community

Legend advocates for state-of-the-art cancer care for Campbell County community

Mom, leader, dosimetrist, physicist, volunteer, friend, and breast cancer survivor.

These are all words to describe one very special woman who walks the halls at Campbell County Memorial Hospital: Leigh Worsley, the Heptner Cancer Center director, and a Campbell County Health Legend.

For those who don't know, CCH defined a Legend as: “Those people who have left an indelible impression on our minds because of their deeds and actions. Ongoing demonstration of hard work, compassion, and a reputation for greatness make someone a legend.”

According to her nomination form, Leigh never hesitates to step in and help out—from gathering wheelchairs to running errands for patients.

“She gives her card and phone number to our new patients and sincerely means it when she says, ‘Call me anytime,’” says Vickie Balo, who was the Cancer Center Radiation Oncology Clinic Coordinator at the time.

Growing up, Leigh was always fascinated with the medical field.

“When I was in high school, my aunt was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and I saw how amazing the cancer treatments were,” she says. “I then took a Health Occupations class and rotated through a cancer center—I immediately knew working with cancer patients was meant for me.”

Leigh earned a Bachelor of Science from Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, and a Master of Science in Medical Physics, RTU-VT in South Bend, Indiana. She has also earned a Radiation Therapy License from the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists; a Medical Dosimetry License from the Medical Dosimetry Certification Board; and is a Member of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine.

Leigh has worked in healthcare for 22 years—20 of those years have been in Oncology, and 18 of those 22 years she’s been right here at CCH in Gillette, Wyoming.

"I just come to work every day with the dedication to be a voice for my patients and to provide them with the best care possible, and to help them in their cancer journey," says Leigh. "I’m very humbled to be recognized as a Legend."

Cancer has played a large role in Leigh’s life. In September 2014, Leigh was diagnosed with breast cancer—at 37, the diagnosis took her off guard. But it didn’t shake her. In fact, she uses her personal experience receiving treatment at the Heptner Cancer Center as a way to better connect with her patients.

“I am blessed to be able to relate to our patients now. I feel that my personal cancer journey was a stepping stone in my career for me to be able to really connect to my patients on a personal level,” she says. “I love to share my story with them and be someone they can reach out to at any time of the day for help as an extra support system for them.”

Cancer Center staff will tell you that Leigh’s willingness to share her personal cancer story puts their patients more at ease.

“She can put herself in their shoes, and she helps her employees understand some of the fears and feelings patients are going through because she has been there herself. She is a valuable asset to all of us!” Vickie says.

Leigh isn’t afraid to talk about the hard parts of cancer, or laugh with her patients over what some may feel are silly. She always makes time to stop and visit when patients are in the waiting room—helping to put a smile on the patients’ faces.

But that’s not all that Leigh does for her patients—she also helps find ways to help them financially afford the disease. Leigh is a member of the Campbell County Healthcare Foundation’s Cancer Care Committee, which was created in 2013 to fill the need in our community to support local cancer patients with financial grants. She’s a driving force behind the Paint Gillette Pink fundraiser, an breast cancer education and awareness campaign, as well as the Chair Affair, which funds the Cancer Care Committee.

Leigh also played a large role in the fundraising for the CCHCF’s PET/CT Capital Campaign, which will permanently install Positron Emission Tomography equipment in the Cancer Center to make it more comfortable for patients. For those who don’t know, PET is a type of imaging that helps healthcare providers choose the best treatments for cancer, see how well treatment is working and detect if cancer has spread to other areas of the body. Installation of the project began earlier this month, and should be complete by mid-summer.

But, perhaps her proudest achievement is being a single mom to two amazing young men: Coleman, 19, and Chase, 14. Currently, Coleman attends Augustana University in Sioux Falls, SD, and plays tight end for the football team—he is majoring in exercise science. Chase is a freshman at Thunder Basin High School, and is what Leigh calls a computer genius!

“We love to take road trips and we love attending any kind of sports that we can! I love watching both of them play football,” she says. Leigh also loves riding her Harley in the Black Hills or anywhere for a rally.

Leigh is the first to tell you that staff at the Cancer Center grows very close to the patients and families through their cancer journey.

“Our patients inspire me every day with their optimism and fight. I also appreciate the fact that CCH gives me the opportunity to treat patients in a small town with state-of-the-art radiation equipment and other treatments,” she says. “We know that the Cancer Center is the last place anyone wants to be so I try to make it a positive experience for them.”

Thank you, Leigh, for coming in to work every day to provide these patients with the best care possible to help them in their cancer journey. Congratulations on your Legend award.

The Campbell County Healthcare Foundation advocates for quality healthcare services in Campbell County through leadership, education, scholarships and fundraising. Learn more at www.cchcf.com.