When Irabel Elliott went to the emergency room last fall because of difficulty breathing, she learned about a far more serious issue. "They told me I needed a biopsy and that I needed to talk to my primary doctor." She soon began treatment for stage four breast cancer.
"But thank God for Community of Hope," Irabel tells staff. Before her diagnosis, she had dissatisfying experiences with hospitals in the District. At Community of Hope, she found a team that supported her health care journey. She recalls how the providers and medical staff made her feel cared for and understood. Most importantly, they helped connect her to the specialists and treatment she needed. She is grateful to Community of Hope for "getting everything started" in her treatment.
Irabel is optimistic about the progress of her treatment and has even encouraged friends and family to seek the resources at Community of Hope. She notes how a family member recently attended a women's event at Conway Health Center to take advantage of the mammogram screenings offered.
A central aspect of Irabel's journey has been learning to pay attention to her body and its health needs. She describes her many years of working hard at her job and thinking that she didn't have the time to prioritize her health. She now advocates for a proactive approach to wellness and awareness.
Irabel urges members of the community to be vigilant about their personal health because minor issues could indicate more serious health problems. Based off personal experience, she also believes that this is especially true if an individual's family's medical history puts them at risk for certain illnesses.
When asked what enduring lesson she wants others to take seriously, Irabel emphatically recommends: "Take care of yourself, don't ignore yourself and your body." Where should people seek help? She suggests Community of Hope, who is "out there [in the community] providing quality care.