CEDAR BLUFF, Va. (WVVA) - For more than thirty years, Vicky Lothery has been working as a coder at Clinch Valley Physicians Associates in Cedar Bluff.
"As a medical coder I have to read, the progress notes that the doctors dictate, and i see everybody or almost everybody has a history of some kind of cancer mostly family history and everyone you know needs to get their cancer screenings," said Lothery.
It isn't just her job that leads to her being impacted by the disease and personal connections.
"My husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer bout 5 or 6 years ago. It really hits home when it's your immediate family. And both my parents have had skin cancer," said Lothery.
This knowledge, coupled with the impact the disease has had on the lives of friends and family, has led to her work with Relay For Life, where she leads teams and raises money for research.
"A really good friend of mine here who's a breast cancer survivor she said let's get involved with relay for life. For the last 15 years I've really been involved right now i currently am doing a survivor outreach," said Lothery.
She says COVID-19 presented challenges for these volunteer efforts.
"During the pandemic it's been a major challenge for us we've had decreased participation and it's really hard even here at work our team is dwindling getting smaller. It's just hard to do our fundraising," said Lothery.
But she says these challenges did not stop her.
"Since we can't have our big relay for life here in southwest Virginia here local we do something for our survivors, last year during the pandemic we could only do a parade for them. And then this year we got to do a survivor tailgate party."
It's all for the sake of raising money for cancer research.
"We want to raise money for Relay for life that's how we um do research and we don't want our survivors to be forgotten," she said.
Her efforts have earned her a mercy award for touching the lives of others,
Despite this, she's not comfortable being considered a hero, as she says it's a team effort.
"I dont feel like i'm a hero because i couldn't do all this without the help of everyone," said Lothery.
And she encourages everyone to get involved and to donate to this research.
"We really need to find a cure and we fundraise all year round," said Lothery.
And that dedication to fighting for a cure and encouraging others to do the same is what makes Vicky Lothery a hometown hero.
To learn more about the American Cancer Society, visit their website.
To nominate someone who goes above and beyond, has a huge heart, and does great things for the community as a hometown hero, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The winner and nominator both receive a year of free frostycinnos from Wendy's.
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