For Lowell General Nurse, Cancer Walk is Personal
LOWELL -- Melinda Peloquin can still remember the nurses who looked after her late father, James King. Following his diagnosis of colorectal cancer, King underwent treatment at Lowell General Hospital.
“I remember the kindness that they showed, I remember how much he loved his nurses,” Peloquin recalled Wednesday from Lowell General. “My mom, to this day, will say, ‘The nurses loved your daddy so much.‘”’
King received care from nurses until he died in 1984, according to Peloquin. And it was that experience that greatly influenced Peloquin, of Tyngsboro, to pursue a career in nursing. She is now 42 and a registered nurse at Lowell General who works with oncology patients. On Sunday, she will attend the 19th annual TeamWalk for CancerCare, a large single-day fundraising event that raises money for cancer patients like her late father.
Peloquin has been involved with TeamWalk since it began. This year, she and the ‘Infusion Girls’ -- the nurses who administer chemotherapy treatment to patients at Lowell General -- will be “route cheerers” for participants along the route.
“It is such a good time for them to come together and show everybody how strong they are and how proud they are. Our survivors have ‘Survivor’ shirts. Some wear them, some don’t,” Peloquin said of TeamWalk. “It’s nice for them to see us out of work and do such an incredible community event that raises money for a cause that is so dear to so many people’s hearts.”
The walk will begin outside the Tsongas Center. There are two walks -- a 6-mile walk that begins at 9 a.m. and a 3-mile walk that begins at 10 a.m., according to a press release.
Funds raised at the event directly support patients at the hospital’s Cancer Center.
“Those patients are people who might be out of work and need some help paying a couple of bills. It might be somebody who needs transportation to an appointment,” Lowell General Hospital spokesman Will Courtney said. “It could be someone who wants to be fitted for a wig, which can make a huge difference for someone who has lost their hair, in restoring dignity.”
Like Peloquin, Melanie Edwards, clinical manager at the Cancer Center, has served as a volunteer for TeamWalk in past years. This year, though, Edwards said she will be participating in the walk with her children. She added that the event is valuable in providing necessary services for patients, the biggest of which is transportation help.
With a tender smile, Peloquin said she and the other ‘Infusion Girls’ will be there to cheer on “their people” as they go by.
“Last year I saw a lot of the girls pretty emotional,” she said. “Sometimes I teeter on emotion, but I can usually keep it in check pretty good and most of us can, but lots of tears last year... which was awesome, because you see your survivors.”
Follow Amaris Castillo on Twitter @AmarisCastillo
19th TeamWalk for CancerCare
Where: Tsongas Center, 300 Arcand Dr., Lowell
Event schedule: Registration starts at 7:30 a.m.; 6-mile walk begins at 9 a.m.; 3-mile walk begins at 10 a.m.
For more information, to register, or donate: www.teamwalk.org