The power of positivity

Tracy Beeler brings a friendly face to mammograms

Optimism makes a huge difference in the lives of others. As a mobile mammography technologist, Tracy Beeler brings hope and encouragement to individuals across greater Winston-Salem.  

Traveling across town on one of the two mobile mammography buses, she and her Novant Health colleagues host pop-up breast health clinics within a 90-mile radius of Winston-Salem. Through generous donations from individuals in our community and grants, Novant Health is able to fund mammograms for uninsured and underinsured individuals who would otherwise not be able to afford them. Any individual, regardless of insurance coverage, can be scheduled on the mobile units.

For Beeler, the mobile mammography bus is an opportunity to do what she loves and help others take charge of their breast health. Growing up, her mother worked as an administrative assistant in radiology, and Beeler grew to know the field well over the years. As a teenager, she was inspired through her conversations with technologists and began training soon after. By the time she turned 19, she was a full-time technologist. Today, Beeler is a registered technologist for radiology and mammography and she still enjoys the work after three decades.

“There are so many different dimensions in radiology,” Beeler said. “It’s more than using an X-ray in a hospital. You can perform MRI and CAT scans, ultrasounds and lithotripsy. I’ve done more than I ever thought I would.”

Last March, COVID-19 disrupted the work of Beeler and her team. When the pandemic first arose, Novant Health temporarily shut down mobile mammography services for several months to help keep patients safe. While Beeler was unable to do her normal job on the mobile mammography bus, she took the opportunity to work at a COVID-19 testing site in Thomasville. The test site needed internet access, so the mobile team drove the bus to Thomasville and parked it beside a tent.  

“From the first day, we printed out labels and put together paperwork because we have a printer and fax machine on the bus,” Beeler said. “We made packets for patients and worked as runners.”

Beeler describes participating in COVID-19 testing as a surreal experience. She remembers one day when it was pouring rain.

“There was almost this river you had to cross to get to the lab,” Beeler said. “I never thought in 33 years of being an X-ray tech, I was going to be in the weather in a tent, running samples for a virus we didn’t know much about.”

The clinic was staffed with team members from all areas of Novant Health, and Beeler enjoyed the camaraderie of bonding with team members who became more like family.

“We were all pulled from different areas – techs, admins, nurses and doctors – and we were thrown together,” Beeler said. “It was like we’d worked together for 20 years. We worked so well together.”

Beeler worked at the clinic through the spring until mobile mammography services opened up again in June. During that time, she rotated with the rest of her team and worked a shift every four days. Beeler was grateful for the work, though her reduced income was a hardship for her.

“It was really rough,” Beeler said. “We went through several months where I said, ‘Put it on the credit card. Put it on the credit card.’” 

Then Beeler learned about the Hope for Remarkable Team Aubergine Fund. Made possible by generous individuals and companies in our communities, the fund provides financial assistance for team members affected by the pandemic. Created in spring 2020, the fund continues to support team members to this day. Beeler applied for assistance to cover a mortgage payment, and her request was quickly approved.

“I was very relieved,” Beeler said. “It lightened the burden, so I could concentrate on what mattered most, which is taking care of my patients.”

Feeling incredibly fortunate, Beeler expressed her gratitude for the donors who made this possible. “They don’t know how much a little bit of help can make such a big difference,” she said.  

Today, the mobile mammography buses are back in full force. Beeler is happy to help patients again with both mammograms and lifted spirits.

“You have to be positive,” Beeler said. “To me, remarkable care begins with being greeted by a friendly face, and that’s what I do for patients. I respect them, I care about them, and I delight in them. And I try to go above and beyond.”

Today, our hard-working Novant Health team members need your help.

Over the last year, the Hope for Remarkable Team Aubergine Fund has supported our front-line workers and team members experiencing financial hardship. With your gift, we can provide the boost they need to continue their remarkable care. Make your gift today.

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