Gwendolyn B. Klein is the Founder of Values Based Patient Advocates and has been advocating for eleven years. Gwendolyn grew up in Northern Virginia, and lived there until the age of 25 when she moved to Northern California, where she married, and had 2 beautiful boys. Her first serious encounter with the medical system was when her firstborn son was in kindergarten. He fell off the monkey bars at school and was taken to the hospital. The Doctor, while leaning over her young son’s bed in the Emergency room said, “there is nothing more we can do for your son, we think he has bone cancer”.
“I was lost, I had no idea what to do, and would have done whatever the doctor’s told me to do as long as they could save my son”. Her son Matthew, was diagnosed with Monostatic Fibrous Dysplasia, a disease where the patient is missing a “G” protein, which causes the bone to be brittle and break.
It was at that point that Gwendolyn decided to go into Nursing. Gwendolyn graduated from Dominican University of California with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2006, despite the fact that she was a single Mother of 2 very young boys, and in addition, Gwendolyn’s Mother, who had moved in with her to help with the children was diagnosed with lung cancer her first semester of nursing school. Her Mother went into remission and Gwendolyn graduated with honors and was nominated by her entire nursing class to receive the Honorary Leadership award.
Since that time Gwendolyn has lost both of her parents to Cancer. “When my Mother was diagnosed I had just started nursing school. I had to take a recorder in with me because I knew I would never remember, much less understand, what the doctor was telling us”. Her Mother passed away in 2008. “It broke my heart; she was my best friend”. I know what it is like to feel lost when someone you love is sick, and I know what it feels like to lose someone you love due to an illness.
Our healthcare system is so broken, you have to have someone to hold your hand and lead you, so you don’t fumble, groping blindly, down a path you have never taken.