Patient Story

Barbara’s Story: Becoming an Advocate for Other Cancer Patients

Barbara’s Story: Becoming an Advocate for Other Cancer Patients
Cancer Type Breast Cancer
Everyone at The Zangmeister Center is tuned into how patients should be treated

A passionate schoolteacher for many years, Barbara Beckwith found a new passion through her experience with cancer: becoming an advocate for other cancer patients.

Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1994, Barbara underwent surgery, radiation and chemotherapy simultaneously. Cancer-free, she continued teaching school until 1999 when she decided to retire. “I retired at that time because I wanted to retire on my own terms, never because of my health.”

Not one to slow down, Barbara began part-time work for Columbus Community Clinical Oncology Program and The James Cancer Hospital. She became involved in other organizations that advocate clear and concise patient information, research and cancer-related legislation.

In 2006, she was diagnosed with uterine cancer, which she faced head on. This diagnosis made her even more determined to continue with her work. “I have a great son, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and I want to know that research is occurring so that my family doesn’t ever have to go through the same thing as I have,” she says.

Barbara has served on the National Cancer Institute’s Parent-A committee that evaluates cancer care centers. She also has worked with the State of Ohio to write the cancer plans for the state and is a resource guide for patients in Ohio.

Barbara travels frequently, meeting with other advocates and speaking on survivorship issues. Serving as an advocate for cancer patients, especially for those newly diagnosed, Barbara accompanies patients to their appointments as a “second set of ears”, helping them overcome their fears. Ever the teacher, she highly encourages her clients to practice journaling.

Having been through cancer twice and with her experience in many cancer-related organizations, Barbara knows the cancer care field well and believes The Zangmeister Cancer Center is “one of the best.”

“Everyone at The Zangmeister Center is tuned into how patients should be treated,” she says. “They listen and treat everyone with respect. The level of expertise and quality of care is simply outstanding. I’ve been blessed with good doctors who really take the time to answer my questions and respect my opinion.”

Although she works hard, Barbara does make time for herself. “I make time for me every day. You have to de-stress. You also have to do things to make you laugh. It’s good for the soul.”

Read More Patient Stories