‘This is ministry to me’

This Norton Healthcare employee finds purpose in helping breast cancer patients after her own harrowing health experiences. Here’s Euwonna Jones’ story.

You’ll never hear another story quite like Euwonna Jones’.

Euwonna is a mastectomy fitter at Norton Cancer Institute Pat Harrison Resource Center in Southern Indiana. Here’s how surviving her own harrowing health experiences led her to a career caring for cancer patients as they heal.

In Nov. 2009, while living in her hometown of Detroit, Michigan, then-36-year-old Euwonna was told by her doctors that they suspected she had colon cancer (which she would later learn was an incorrect diagnosis). A surgery to remove parts of her colon led to severe complications that left her in a coma for three months. During that time, she developed sepsis three times and was resuscitated five times.

Her journey back to health was long and arduous, but her spirit remained strong.

“God has always blessed me with resilience to bounce back,” Euwonna said.

Euwonna was working for a medical equipment company in Michigan when she went into the hospital. When she went back to work, she had a newfound appreciation for her role in helping people get well by ensuring they had the supplies and equipment they needed to heal.

“As a result, life changed for me. I had more empathy for people than I thought I ever would,” Euwonna said.

This is where she first learned about mastectomy fitting. It’s a specialized allied health profession: Mastectomy fitters work with patients to properly fit breast prostheses and provide other post-mastectomy services. Euwonna was encouraged to get her certification for this specialty and began offering these services at her medical equipment store.

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You can be part of helping provide this important service to patients with a donation to the Norton Healthcare Foundation.

In 2014, she followed her gut and took a job in Atlanta, Georgia, at a large health care system as a mastectomy fitter. She grew in that role and stayed until 2020 when she returned to Michigan to care for her ailing mother. She landed back at the medical equipment company where she worked previously. But not long after settling back into her home state, she had another near-fatal health experience that left her needing a feeding tube and using a wheelchair for three months.

Again, this experience taught Euwonna that she was stronger than she ever thought possible. Her strength carried her through this illness, but the experience left her questioning her purpose.

That’s when fate came calling!

Not too long after she had recovered, she received a call from one of Norton Healthcare’s recruiters informing her about the position as a mastectomy fitter for Norton Cancer Institute. According to Euwonna, that call came at the right time for her. While it would require a move, it was a welcome change of pace.

“I was in a place where I knew it was time for change,” she said. “Through it all, God has shown me that I have value, and I can help so many people. I never knew what my calling was, but [after this] I know my calling is people, in no matter what capacity that is. I’ll always be a person of encouragement to others, because we all struggle, and I can relate to the many struggles people may be facing. This is ministry to me.

“I want to make people feel good.”

In her old job, she didn’t have the meaningful interactions with patients that she now enjoys as a mastectomy fitter.

“I’ve gone through a lot, and I’m looking for peace of mind,” Euwonna said. “I want to be in a position to help people again.”

According to her leader, Euwonna’s personal health experiences and warm nature make her the perfect fit for this role.

“The mastectomy fitter role is extremely important for our breast cancer patients,” said Darla York, R.N., nurse manager, cancer resource centers and navigation services. “Euwonna works with [these patients] to help them feel more like themselves after surgery. The fitter is trained to measure patients for mastectomy bras and prosthetics, but she does so much more.  She consoles them, listens to their concerns and prays with and for them. 

“Euwonna is an awesome person. She brings joy, compassion, empathy and genuine concern to our patients.”

Having listened to a calling to help others following her own health struggles, Euwonna said that she has found her purpose.

“Being a servant is important to me,” she said. “I’ve helped so many people feel normal again.”

Mastectomy fitting is made possible by a grant from the Norton Healthcare Foundation.

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