Kim Belcher is one of the first people you meet when visiting Mercy Health — Paducah Medical Oncology and Hematology. In her 15 years with our ministry as a receptionist, she has seen thousands of people walk in and out of our clinics.
With her warm smile and friendly face, most people wouldn’t think Kim had a front row seat to the COVID-19 pandemic. While nurses and doctors are often most visible, team members like Kim also had to pivot their work to ensure patients and colleagues stayed safe.
For Kim, she tried to make things as normal as possible but with the addition of wearing masks, taking temperatures and asking screening questions. And for the chemotherapy patients battling cancer, her goal was to maintain a level of normalcy and comfort for them.
“At the time it was a scary situation, but you didn’t have time to think about that,” Kim recalls. “We had to do things differently, but we had to provide them with life-saving treatment. They needed and depended on us to be there for them.”
Kim knows firsthand how cancer and COVID-19 can impact families. During the pandemic, Kim’s mother lost her battle with breast cancer. The loss of her mother along with stress from masking up, washing up and doing her best to keep patients comfortable took a toll. After coming home at night and getting changed in her garage to keep her family safe, she found comfort in her loved ones.
“I’m fortunate to have a wonderful, loving husband who I could talk to about how I was feeling. He helped give me the strength to do it every day.”
Kim shares that having that support and outlet was important for her be able go to work and help patients in need.
Each day Kim preregisters patients for the day before chemotherapy, checks insurance, greets patients, answer their questions and ensures things go smoothly when they walk in the door. For Kim, it’s about the team she works with, not her.
“Our doctors and nurses are the best,” Kim says. “I love the ministry and faith we bring to the community. Chaplains come and talk with our patients and offer them encouragement. Our leadership also makes sure that our patients have snacks and lunches to eat while they are here. They can’t leave once they start treatment, so doing that means so much to them.”
But it’s not just our team members team that spend time caring for our patients.
Kim says, “we have such wonderful community members who crochet hats for our patients, so they stay warm. They’re eyes just light up when they get the hats. Others have made quilts or donate throw blankets. There’s been such an outpouring of support, and we are so grateful for our community and all they do for us. We could never repay them for their kindness.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has no doubt changed Kim’s view of the world.
“It makes you look at things differently,” she says. “When you see a patient going through chemotherapy and managing that through a pandemic, you can’t take things for granted. You need to cherish your life and think about how fortunate you are. There are so many people out there in need.”
Kim believes the pandemic has helped her and others live out the mission of our ministry.
“I feel like we here at Mercy are doing an amazing job to care for our community. We’re getting out there and helping people. But we can always do more. There are so many people that need to hear the mission of Jesus.”
We are honored to have team members like Kim caring for our patients every day and living our mission.
Learn about the ways we are giving back in the communities we serve.
Also, learn more about the cancer and oncology services we provide.