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Rev. Mark Mayo
Rev. Mark Mayo

Thu, Feb 25, 2021 at 09:15 AM

Cancer Care Center chaplain can relate to patients experience

Mark Mayo fills role as new chaplain at Marshall Cancer Care Center

Cancer is a word that will stop even the strongest person in their tracks. There is no one individual who has not been eclipsed by its shadow either through personal experience or the experience of a friend or loved one. No matter the severity of the prognosis, cancer is scary and it’s not something anyone should have to go through alone. And thankfully, at the Marshall Cancer Care Center, it is not something you have to battle without support. Along with the incredible staff at the Marshall Cancer Care Center, Chaplain Mark Mayo has become an integral part of the care and support for patients undergoing cancer treatments. Rev. Mark Mayo of Guntersville First United Methodist Church is no stranger to the fear that accompanies a cancer diagnosis. “It is a terrifying experience, no matter what kind of cancer it is. When you hear the doctor give that diagnosis you can hear what they’re saying, but you can’t really process or retain the information in that moment.” Although his treatment journey was a difficult one, Rev. Mark expressed his thanks for the kindness and love shown to him by every staff member at the Marshall Cancer Care Center as he underwent his treatments last year. “I just fell in love with the nurses and staff, I knew they truly cared about me.”Years before his own fight with cancer, Mark recalls being alongside his late father as he fought his own battle with cancer. “Dad was being treated at a great facility, but it lacked a personal, human element. It felt like he was a number, and not a person. My personal experience being treated at the Marshall Cancer Care Center was nothing like that.” During his treatment in early 2020 (pre-COVID), he recalls various conversations with staff members on how they felt the Cancer Center could really benefit from the presence of a chaplain. “‘I hope you find someone’ I would say, not thinking that someone would be me. But God really dealt with me and I knew he was telling me to use my experience to relate to, encourage and counsel others going through similar things.” He also remarked on how the need for counsel reaches beyond the bedside and into the lives of the nurses and staff standing beside it. “The nurses go through so much with each patient. They want to celebrate the victories but they deeply feel the impact of each bad day or negative prognosis.” The value of having a chaplain nearby is a blessing to patients and employees. Mark accepted the role of chaplain in early 2020 but COVID limited his ability to volunteer to the extent he would have liked. As time has gone on he has had more opportunity to be present and fulfill the much needed role of Marshall Cancer Care Center Chaplain. Counsel can look like praying with someone as they undergo treatment or it may be as simple as a kind word. One day Mark remembers a tall, sturdy man coming in for a treatment. He was wearing a verbally explicit piece of clothing that gave the impression that he might not be someone to mess with. “To my surprise, the man started crying and he asked me if radiation was going to hurt. Having gone through it I was able to encourage him and tell him it would not. And after it was over he was able to come to me with a smile on his face and told me that I was right!” The Marshall Cancer Care Center is a place where even during a difficult life experience, hope, kindness and healing is still found. Emotional and spiritual support is a valuable part of the healing process which is why we are very fortunate to have Rev. Mark Mayo as part of the Marshall Medical family.