Stacy McDaniel was in her garage one day when she saw a pile of basketball shoes, soccer cleats and football gear over in one corner. It was all athletic equipment her kids had outgrown, and in that moment “Cleats for Kids” was born.
McDaniel and her husband Mark organized the not-for-profit business to collect and then distribute shoes to kids in need. Today, nearly 10 years later, the organization just donated it’s 100-thousandth pair of shoes.
While celebrating their company’s success, however, McDaniel heard some shocking news: she had cancer.
“At first it was disbelief,” McDaniel said. “After all, cancer is something that happens to someone else, right? But I had a mammogram on a Friday and received my diagnosis on Monday. I was so naïve about it, I didn’t even know there was more than one type of breast cancer. It didn’t run in my family, so I had no reason to know much about it.”
That weekend was a whirlwind of emotions as she struggled to learn as much as she could.
“The very first thing we did was research, and the very first place I searched was the American Cancer Society’s website,” McDaniel said. “That is the information we relied upon, and to be honest it was the only information I looked at. It is truly a life-support system to someone facing cancer. The resources that are there provide you with a path to follow and a way to organize information, and there is so much information.”
McDaniel says her physician gave her the diagnosis, then handed her a packet of materials from ACS.
“I took that packet with me everywhere I went,” she said. “I took it to my doctor’s appointments, to my treatments. It helped me feel connected to an organization I know is fighting on my behalf. Before my diagnosis I had always heard of the American Cancer Society and I thought they probably did research or something. Boy, they do so much more. They give free wigs to patients who are going through chemo, free rides to treatments. It’s amazing the work this organization does. They are there as a complete support system from start to finish.”
Traveling to and from treatment became a way of life, and McDaniel said that made her realize how important it is for Oklahoma to have a place where cancer patients can rest and concentrate on getting better.
“When you are going through treatment, whether it’s chemotherapy, radiation or post-surgical measures, you have to have a place to stay, and that place isn’t in your car,” she said. “Right now, Oklahoma does not have that resource, and that’s why it is so crucial we find the funds to build the new Hope Lodge. It will make such a positive impact on our state.”
Driving is often not an option, she says, and its not until a person gets sick that they realize lodging is going to play a necessary role in their recovery.
“Even if you have a window of time between your chemo treatments where you could go home, you’re too sick to get in the car and drive,” McDaniel said. “If you have limited resources–and cancer has a way of stripping that quickly–that leaves you with very few choices. People traveling to Oklahoma City for treatment from the four corners of the state need the comfort of a home away from home. That is what Hope Lodge will offer, and I hope more Oklahomans will support this campaign so we can finally get it built.”
McDaniel was diagnosed late in 2018, and the past year has been one of self-discovery, faith building and finding courage.
“It has also been a year of humility and learning to rely on others,” she added. “That is so important in your cancer journey, realizing you are not going through this alone. For that reason, I am so appreciative of the American Cancer Society, for being there on every step of this scary part of life.”
What McDaniel said she learned is that for a while this will likely be an on-going journey. She finishes her immunotherapy treatments in December, and then she has opted for reconstructive surgery early next year.
“I’m looking at 2019 as my ‘fight year,’” she says with a smile. “So, 2020 will be my ‘recharge year.’ When you go through something like this, you don’t want to lose sight of what you’ve learned, and for me that is finding the joy and beauty in each day, from every person you meet and every conversation you have. You learn to realize you’ll never pass this way again, so every single day is important.”
And equally important to treatment, she says, is trying to maintain a positive attitude. McDaniel is back at work now, finding new ways of securing sneakers, running shoes and soccer cleats for Oklahoma’s kids.
“During some of the hardest days, I would look in the mirror and what I realized is that while cancer can take a lot from you, it can never stop me from being me,” McDaniel said. “I’m still Stacy, and no matter what, cancer cannot take that away.”
We are seeking:
FULL TIME DIRECTOR OF NURSING SERVICES
In conjunction with the Medical Director, the DON ensures that resident care objectives are established and met and the standards, policies, and procedures of the Department of Nursing Services are consistent with the standards, policies and procedures of the facility, our Principals of Respect and Statement of Commitment, and current standards of care and practice. The DON’s job is multifaceted to promote and include a focus on resident’s quality of life issues while ensuring optimal quality of care is delivered to
· Oklahoma State RN license required
· Two years experience in direct resident care preferred
Send your resumes to:
For more information, please contact Cheryl Welch – Clinical Director at
405-943-1144 ext. 9048
Bridges Health 4350 Will Rogers Parkway, Suite 300. Oklahoma City, OK 73108