As a third-generation Princeton resident, Thomas Moore has always felt a sense of pride in his community and a desire to give back. So in 2011, one of the many ways he chose to do this was to volunteer his handyman services at the Princeton Nursery School. Somehow, he balanced these activities with his busy schedule, while caring for his 13-year-old twin sons, as a single dad, and working as a driver for a national courier service. However, on one occasion during his volunteer shift at the school, he felt that something wasn't quite right. While painting fixtures, he started to feel feverish and developed soreness in his neck. He had experienced similar symptoms in weeks prior, but they became more severe as time progressed, and on this particular day, the pain was unbearable. He finally decided to go to the University Medical Center at Princeton (UMCP), and after several tests, it was determined that Mr. Moore was suffering from symptoms of leukemia, a diagnosis he had not even remotely expected. In the months that followed, he underwent extensive treatments coordinated by UMCP Outpatient Clinic, as it was known then, in collaboration with Robert Wood Johnson Hospital.
The Clinic was not new to Mr. Moore. He rarely sought medical care for himself prior to his illness, but given certain family challenges following the birth of his twin sons in 1997, and limitations in his insurance coverage, it was necessary for him to use the services of the Clinic for the care of his sons Thomas IV and Thaddaeus, whom Mr. Moore calls "TNT." He marveled at how quickly the years have flown by: "It seems like just yesterday I was taking them for wellness visits at the Clinic and the nurses were weighing them on a tiny scale and measuring them, and now they are 6 feet 2 inches tall and turning seventeen."
Since that time, and especially after Mr. Moore's diagnosis, the Clinic-now the Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) Community Health Center-has served as a critical support for the Moore family. "We consider the physicians, nurses, and staff at the Center a part of our family," said Mr. Moore. "They've helped me handle the ups and downs of life and the stuff that happens when kids do the stuff kids do-fractured bones, dog bites, bumps, etc. They have been a true lifeline for me in raising my family. I simply don't know what I would do without them."
These days, Mr. Moore is feeling very well, effectively managing his illness and continuing to do the things he loves, especially rallying his sons, who play tackle and safety on the Princeton High School football team. "My illness was really hard on my sons and me, but the support of the Community Health Center has helped us get through everything. It's been truly great care, and I am extremely grateful."
Gifts to the PHCS Foundation provide critical funding to underwrite the direct costs of providing care at the BMS Community Health Center and essential treatments to those most at risk and most in need. The overall health of our community depends on this support. The PHCS Foundation Annual Fund and other gifts earmarked for the Center through the Foundation's recently implemented service-line initiative help us fulfill the hospital's commitment and responsibility to provide care to patients regardless of their ability to pay. For information on how you can designate gifts for the BMS Community Health Center, please contact Jeanette Corris, Senior Director of Development at the PHCS Foundation, at 609.252.8709 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictured (above): Teri Nachtman, RN-BC, BMS Community Health Center (center), with Thomas Moore, III and sons (left to right) Thaddaeus and Thomas IV, who are grateful recipients of BMS Community Health Center Services.
Article as seen in Foundation News Winter 2014.