Karen Ritter's journey to become a patient advocate is rooted in her personal experiences. Her mom was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2020 and passed away around Thanksgiving of that year.
From the experience of being a caregiver for her mom, she shifted from her career as a nurse at a medical center to become a patient advocate. Karen has 25 years of nursing experience and is a member of multiple associations:
- American Nurses Association
- American Society of Clinical Oncology
- Academy of Oncology Nurse and Patient Advocates
"After learning more about this cancer and how important a patient advocate can be," she said, "I saw myself in this role helping people affected by this heartbreaking disease."
One of Karen's first initiatives at Mesothelioma Guide was helping create the Caregivers Guide book. This project held a spot close to her heart, as she feels cancer caregivers are often left to figure out how to be a caregiver on their own. She felt a guide book for caregivers would be immensely valuable, especially to people affected by an aggressive disease like mesothelioma.
She understands that this diagnosis comes with questions, fears and financial struggles — for not only the patient but also the loved ones handling household chores and helping the patient.