Portraits of Survival



Portraits of Survival
Avery Williams
Age: 11 months
Hometown: Mayfield
Avery Peyton
Williams is a
happy, healthy
graduate of
Baptist’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Avery weighed 3 pounds when she was
born Jan. 31, 2011, making her one of
the first babies in the new NICU. She
had to stay six weeks after developing
brachycardia, a slow heartbeat caused by
acid reflux.
Avery’s parents, Crystal and Jeremy, didn’t
even try to have another child until they
heard Western Baptist was opening a
NICU close to their home because they
had spent time away when their two older
sons were born prematurely. “We were
able to drive to Paducah twice a day to
see her,” Crystal said. “It was the biggest
blessing we could ask for.”
Victoria Seng
Age: 55
Hometown: Fulton
Victoria Seng,
R.N., Ph.D,
teaches nursing
students at the
University of
Tennessee-Martin, but she was shocked
to be diagnosed with breast cancer after
a routine mammogram at Western Baptist
in 2006. “I have no family history at all,”
Seng said. “I only have praise for folks in the
mammography unit. I’m extremely grateful
they were diligent enough to track me
down. I don’t know if I would be here today
if they hadn’t.”
When illness strikes, area residents turn to Western Baptist for treatment to get them
back to their daily activities. Here are the faces of cancer, stroke, heart attack and
premature birth who call their personal recovery a miracle.
Jerry Beyer
Age: 61
Hometown: Paducah
See them at baptistmiracles.tv.
Dr. Seng opted to have a second
mastectomy in 2008 after another cancer
scare. She is cancer-free today and the proud
mother of two teenage daughters. “I’m very
blessed to have a supportive husband,” she
said. “I have two young daughters, and that
was the best chance of survival.”
A heart attack
didn’t stop
Tom Clayton –
from running
or being an
advocate for heart disease prevention. An
avid marathon runner, Clayton was shocked
when he had a heart attack at 44. “All of my
friends said I’m the last person they would
think of having a heart attack,” he said. “I
really had no warning signs.”
Beyer was rushed to Western Baptist, the
region’s only certified stroke center, and
treated with the clot-busting medication
tPA, (tissue plasminogen activator), which
can reduce or reverse stroke symptoms.
“I will never forget the good people who
treated me at Western Baptist,” Beyer said.
“It’s important that everyone knows the
symptoms of stroke, so they can be
treated in time.”
Clayton, a Paducah Bank senior vice
president, did have family history of heart
disease – his maternal grandfather died
from a heart attack at 41 and a great-uncle
at 36. He now tells everyone not to ignore
symptoms or family history. “You really need
to talk to your family about any history of
heart problems,” he said. “Physically active
people are not exempt from this condition.”
Jane Viterisi
Age: 66
Hometown: Paducah
Tabor also had the Maze procedure at the
same time, which treats atrial fibrillation by
creating scar tissue that blocks abnormal
electrical signs. Tabor credits the surgery
with saving her life a second time when her
house caught fire six months later. “If it had
been the year before, I know I wouldn’t
have gotten out,” she said.
Age: 55
Hometown: Paducah
Norvel Greenlee
The Saddlers
Patrick: 35, Lashonda: 32, Zaren: 4
Hometown: Paducah
Patrick and Lashonda Saddler couldn’t have been happier when they heard Western Baptist
was opening the area’s first Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in January. Based on their
experience four years ago, they know the strain of being far from home with a sick baby.
“We had lost four babies and Zaren was No. 5,” said Patrick, the band director at Paducah
Tilghman High School. “He came early, and we were scared to death. We came to Western
Baptist and received excellent care, and they flew us to Vanderbilt University Hospital. We
were there a long time.”
Zaren, now a healthy preschooler, enjoys playing drums with his father’s students or
at the family’s church, Christ Temple Apostolic Church. Lashonda is a teacher at
Clark Elementary School.
Baptist certified
technician Jane
Viterisi has
plenty to celebrate.Viterisi is a six-year
breast cancer survivor and the star of
Western Baptist’s recent Pink Glove Dance
video, which promoted breast cancer
Age: 74
Hometown: Eddyville
Greenlee is
still keeping
the decorative
lights burning at Patti’s 1880s Settlement,
just a year after having a stroke in 2010. His
wife, Rose, told paramedics to take him to
Western Baptist for the clot-busting drug
that can reduce long-term disability.
Viterisi, an artist, created a sculpture for the
mammography suite at the Baptist Imaging
Center to depict her journey through
breast cancer. Constructed with recycled
materials, ranging from wire to jewelry and
even including a fencing panel for its base,
the art work features five dominant spirals
representing her years of survival.
Greenlee said the drug worked quickly.
“In just a matter of minutes, I could feel it
working,” he said. “I said, ‘Look, my hand is
moving.’ We were all crying.”
Age: 46
Hometown: Paducah
Jerry Beyer has
proven that a
stroke does not have to slow you down.
Since suffering a stroke in January 2011, he
has become a tireless promoter of stroke
education. He married a few months after
his then-fiancée Sharon recognized he was
having a stroke and called 911.
Mary Ann Tabor
Mary Ann
Tabor’s active
life is quite the
departure from
how she lived
in 2009 before having valve replacement
surgery. Back then, she couldn’t walk across
a room without gasping for breath.
Tom Clayton
Greg Thompson
Age: 50
Hometown: Paducah
Home Health
employee Greg
found out he
had prostate cancer at 48 after a routine
physical. “I had no symptoms, nothing,”
Thompson said. “I had no family history of
For treatment, Thompson turned to
Western Baptist with the area’s only da Vinci
robotic surgery. Thompson had done his
research and wanted the da Vinci benefits of
less blood loss and faster recovery. He now
encourages his peers to have a prostate
screening after 40.