Bessie Overbay

Care from the comfort of ‘home’

Bessie Overbay - Baptist Health Foundation Richmond Impact StoryAs is so often the case with cancer, Bessie Overbay’s second experience came unexpectedly. Those that know her best can tell you that she has always enjoyed spending time outdoors. However, recently there was a time where she accidentally ventured into a nest of baby spiders. Not long after, Bessie began noticing red bumps appearing all over her torso. She thought that they were likely just spider bites, but her physician insisted that they take a sample so that his team could rule out any other potential causes.

When the results came back, it was like returning to an old nightmare. What Bessie had assumed were merely bites turned out to be stage IV melanoma. But while the diagnosis was initially unnerving, it was evident from the outset that this second battle with cancer was going to be different.

As she made an appointment to see Dr. Shawn Peterson at Baptist Health Richmond, Bessie was nervous, but from that very first conversation, he had her at ease. She could tell from his compassion that he wasn’t going to simply treat her like a patient, but like a person whom he deeply cared about, a person with a future in spite of the diagnosis. To add to that encouragement was the fact that she wasn’t going to have to get on a highway to travel somewhere else to receive treatment. Instead, Bessie was going to receive lifesaving medical treatment within the comfort of what she calls “home.” She didn’t have that choice twenty years ago.

Because of Dr. Peterson and the medical staff at Baptist Health Richmond, Bessie is now in remission for the second time. She says hearing those words is like having your life handed back to you. For her, it feels as though she has a renewed calling.

“My time here on Earth isn’t over, and there is still more that I need to do,” said Bessie. “I have the opportunity to share my story, which I hope not only motivates others to make their health a priority, but also to express gratitude to the men and women who show up every day to help us to be as healthy as we can be.”