Health Care Foundation Awards Jim Spruiell Memorial Scholarship

TUPELO, Miss.—Family and friends recently presented the second annual Jim Spruiell Memorial Scholarship to Timothy Harris of Union County, a nursing student at Itawamba Community College.

The Jim Spruiell Memorial Scholarship is awarded to individuals who are pursuing a career in an emergency health care-related field. Spruiell was one of three people who died Nov. 19, 2017, in a medical helicopter crash in rural Arkansas. The helicopter, which was operated by Pafford EMS and Air Methods, was en route from Pine Bluff, Ark., to DeWitt, Ark., when the crash occurred.

Spruiell joined the North Mississippi Medical Center family in 1992 as a paramedic and later transferred to CareFlight as a flight paramedic. He earned an associate degree in nursing and transitioned into the role of flight nurse in 2000. He was promoted to chief flight nurse in 2015. Spruiell acquired many professional accreditations and graciously shared his knowledge and passion with others.

Harris, 35, has plans to become a flight nurse like Spruiell. “My passion for EMS and emergency medicine was planted years ago when my grandfather suffered a heart attack and later a stroke and was airlifted to Memphis,” Harris said. “This incident planted a seed in my young mind that was further cultivated by my uncle’s untimely death from an acute heart attack.”

His own first experience with emergency medicine came several years later when he was struck by a car while working a road construction job. “The paramedics arrived on the scene and transported me to the Med in Memphis, and by God’s grace I am here today,” Harris said. After recovering from the near-fatal accident, he left construction and joined his church’s staff as a minister.

“A few years ago my wife and I decided to reevaluate our careers, and I began to seek an occupation that would merge my compassion to help others in need with the ability to provide for my family, become educated and skillful, and use that to help someone,” Harris said. He loves aviation and had taken flight lessons as a young man, but discontinued them to save money for a church mission trip. After researching what a flight nurse does, Harris called NMMC and was connected with Spruiell, who was serving as NMMC’s chief flight nurse. “Mr. Spruiell was a God-send,” he said. “He talked to me for what seemed like forever. He answered all my questions and gave me some of his background in being a paramedic and obtaining his RN license. I still have the piece of paper in my Bible with his name and notes on it and his step-by-step guides to reach this goal.”

Harris has followed Spruiell’s guidance, becoming an Emergency Medical Technician and now entering his second year of nursing school. He also serves with his local volunteer fire department and is active with his church, The Sycamore, where he teaches Sunday School, assists the pastor with projects, is a musician and small group leader.

“I chose to be an emergency health care professional because that’s when people need you the most,” Harris said. “I know firsthand that these experiences can positively impact your life and I hope to do that in becoming a flight nurse and be one of the same “angels” that I have experienced from great men such as Mr. Spruiell. I strive to be one of the team of men and women who have medical knowledge, a passion for compassion and the bravery to go save, stabilize and transport patients in their greatest hour of need.”

Scholarship recipients can include those pursuing a career as a trauma surgeon, emergency medicine physician, registered nurse, paramedic or emergency medical technician (EMT). Recipients can be high school seniors preparing to enter college or individuals currently in the workforce about to embark on a second career. The Jim Spruiell Memorial Scholarship is founded in memory of his impressive work ethic and passion to help others, whether in the field or in the classroom. His wife Lisa will serve on the selection committee each year. To learn more or to donate to the Jim Spruiell Memorial Scholarship, visit www.nmhsfoundation.org.

NMMC-West Point Dedicates New Breast Care Suite

Kitty Bryan Dill’s family was on hand for the dedication of a breast care suite in her honor at NMMC-West Point.

On May 6, North Mississippi Medical Center-West Point dedicated the Kitty Bryan Dill Breast Care Suite, which features new Hologic 3D Mammography™ technology that produces exceptionally sharp images to help find breast cancers earlier, see lesions more clearly and reduce the number of unnecessary biopsies.

“This is the most incredible and exciting news for West Point, the Golden Triangle and North Mississippi!” says Mary Margaret Case of Oxford, daughter of Kitty Bryan Dill. “My mother was 42 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she died on October 11, 1990, at the young age of 48.  Early detection might have played a vital role in her living a longer life.” She was 21 years old when her mother died—her brother Ken was 19, and sisters Sarah Catherine and Caroline were 16 and 14, respectively. Their father, Kenny Dill, was serving as mayor of West Point at the time.

This new technology is proven to detect an average of 41% more invasive breast cancers compared to two-dimensional images alone. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved it as superior for women with dense breasts compared to 2D alone. The technology also allows physicians to recall prior breast imaging studies so that they can be compared to the new images side-by-side, making it easier to look for changes from study to study.

“I welcome the opportunity for the women of our community to have convenient access to the most up-to-date technology offered for breast imaging,” said Phyllis Mason, M.D., medical director of NMMC-West Point Radiology Department. “The exam is not significantly more involved than the previous mammogram exams, only about three seconds longer, and no additional compression is required to obtain the more detailed three-dimensional breast images.”

According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, except for skin cancers. Currently, the average risk of a woman in the United States developing breast cancer sometime in her life is about 12%, which means there is a one in eight chance she will develop breast cancer. “Improved screening tests and treatment techniques are saving lives, and the women in West Point and surrounding areas are going to benefit greatly from this amazing new machine,” Case said.

The new equipment’s rapid scan time makes the process comfortable for the patient while also limiting radiation exposure. The suite also includes ultrasound equipment so that it is more convenient for patients who require additional testing.

The new Breast Care Suite is being funded in part through donations to the Health Care Foundation’s Kitty Bryan Dill Fund and NMMC-West Point employee donors.

Dill’s younger brother, George Bryan, said his sister remained active in her community throughout her valiant battle against breast cancer. “She fought it really hard,” Bryan said. “She was a very special person—she got a lot of her traits from our mother. She was an inspiration to all of us.”

The Kitty Bryan Dill Fund was established by her family several years ago as part of the Take a Swing at Cancer golf tournament. Both Case and Bryan have served on the Health Care Foundation board for many years and are heavily involved with planning the golf tournament, proceeds of which benefit the foundation’s Cancer Care Fund. “Even when Marcia and I were living in Memphis, we came several times for the Take a Swing at Cancer tournament,” Bryan said. “Nobody had any idea it would grow to the size it is now. It’s an event we look forward to every year.”

“In 2015 we added a Corks and Canvas event on the Sunday of the tournament for golfers or their spouses. It quickly became very popular,” Case said. “We did an event on Sunday for several years, and all the proceeds went into the Kitty Bryan Dill Fund. Our donation for the Breast Care Suite is a result of all those fundraisers. This is a great memory of her for our family.”

“I would like to thank the Health Care Foundation of North Mississippi and the board of directors of NMMC-West Point for helping us acquire this equipment,” said Helen Copeland, director of Radiology. “This technology allows the breast tissue to be seen in more detail and has been shown to detect irregularities that were obscured in the previous two-dimensional mammograms.”

Dill’s family knows she would be grateful for the Breast Care Suite named in her honor. “My mother was a very curious educator who loved science and science experiments. When she was diagnosed with cancer and during the five years that she lived with cancer, she was passionate about searching for the newest and best treatments to prolong her life,” Case said. “She wanted to live!  How thrilled she would be to know that her beloved hometown of West Point is home to this most incredible machine that could save so many lives.”

To schedule a mammogram, call (662) 377-6655 or 1-800-THE DESK (1-800-843-3375).

Swings for Scholarships Registration

Thank you for your support of the 2019 1st Annual Jim Spruiell Memorial Scholarship Golf Scramble

*Includes: 4-man team, green fees, cart & snacks

Sponsorships:

Includes a team signage & sponsor's logo. Included in all golf bags.
Includes 2 team entries, Premium signage
Includes 1 team, and lunch signage.
Signage on beverage cart

Registration

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Mail your registration form to:
Health Care Foundation
830 S. Gloster St.
Tupelo, MS 38801

Forms may also be dropped off at the HCF office, 1016 N. Gloster St., Tupelo

Contributions to the Health Care Foundation
are tax deductible as allowed by law.

Please contact the HCF office with questions or further assistance:
foundation@nmhs.net or 662-377-3613

“Not a Box”

TUPELO, Miss.—Lindley Williams of Amory and her son, Kai, recently donated a piggy bank
filled with $175, the book “Not a Box” and an original poem to Eddie Dalton, founder of Eddie’s Fund at the North Mississippi Medical Center Women’s Hospital.

Kai underwent hernia repair surgery at Women’s Hospital in March 2015 when he was 6 weeks old. His parents, Lindley and Kelby, were touched by Dalton’s kindness. During their stay, they became aware of Eddie’s Fund, a fund started by Dalton in 2014 in memory of his family, who “never let anyone go hungry.” Administered through the Health Care Foundation of North Mississippi, Eddie’s Fund provides meal tickets to family members of patients who face extended stays at Women’s Hospital, many of whom have fragile infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

For Kai’s first birthday Feb. 11, his parents asked friends and family for donations to Eddie’s Fund in lieu of gifts. In her presentation to Dalton, Lindley explained that in the book, “Not a Box,” a small rabbit shows that a box will go as far as the imagination allows. She compared the story to Dalton’s vision for Eddie’s Fund, illustrating that seeing truly depends on the ability to believe in the possibilities.

For more information or to contribute to Eddie’s Fund, call the Health Care Foundation at (662) 377-3613 or 1-800-THE DESK (1-800-843-3375).