March 21, 2024

OhioHealth Associate Has Personal Connection to 2024 Cap City Half & Quarter Marathon

Source: OhioHealth

The OhioHealth Capital City Half & Quarter Marathon is coming up on April 27. Katie Foster, a physician assistant with OhioHealth and recent breast cancer survivor, is currently training for this year’s race.  

The event holds extra special significance for Katie, a recipient of “scalp cooling” therapy during her cancer treatment, because a portion of each race registration fee will go toward supporting this therapy for cancer patients through the OhioHealth Foundation. She plans to participate in the quarter marathon, which is scheduled close to the one-year anniversary of when she started chemotherapy, as a celebration of her recovery and an opportunity to give back.  

 “It is amazing that OhioHealth supports cancer patients in this way,” Katie said, “and being someone who benefitted from this less than a year ago, it feels really cool to be able to be on this side giving back.”  

After experiencing concerning symptoms during her second pregnancy, 31-year-old Katie underwent a bilateral mastectomy at 21 weeks, which revealed a diagnosis of stage 1A breast cancer. After delivering her son, Kaden, she began chemotherapy treatment.

“Losing your hair is one of the big things everyone thinks of when you hear 'cancer' and of course that’s where my mind went, too,” Katie said. “I’ve always had this very long curly hair which has been a defining feature for me and the thought of losing that on top of a scary diagnosis was very hard.” 

However, she was introduced to scalp cooling, which allowed her to keep a significant portion of her hair. 

 “It essentially freezes patients' scalps in order to save their hair during some chemotherapy treatment,” said Bethany Golden, president of the Over My Head Boutique at the OhioHealth Arthur G.H. Bing, MD, Cancer Center and the Dublin Cancer Center. Patients wear their scalp cooling caps before, during and after treatment. 

 "The caps are cooled to -35 degrees Celsius with dry ice, so it's obviously quite literally freezing,” Katie said. “My husband had to change the cap every 25 minutes for a total of six hours so that in and of itself is labor intensive. All the hard work was very clearly worth it though. Scalp cooling was a way for me to have some control in a situation that was very out of my control.” 

 Thanks to donor support of the OhioHealth Foundation, 250 patients have been able to receive scalp cooling treatment since the launch of therapy in January 2019. Most traditional insurance plans do not cover costs associated with scalp cooling. Based on the average out-of-pocket cost per patient for scalp cooling therapy, the OhioHealth Foundation has been able to cover about 75 percent of that cost. Additional funding is vital to sustain and grow OhioHealth’s scalp cooling therapy program and defray direct costs to patients on their cancer treatment journey. 

 “People don't realize how expensive it is,” Katie said. “So, the fact that OhioHealth has this Foundation to help make this a more affordable option for patients who already have accrued countless medical bills might seem trivial from the outside, but to the person it’s benefitting, it’s everything.”

 In July 2023, Katie celebrated her final round of chemotherapy surrounded by her family and friends, including her husband, Jimmy, and sons, Archie and Kaden. 

 Now, Katie works as a physician assistant in the OhioHealth Breast Surgery practice, where she provides support and care to those facing similar battles. “I’m so grateful to be able to give back every single day to the community who has quite literally given me my life. How lucky am I?" Katie said.  

 She is thankful to this year’s participants for helping to support scalp cooling therapy through their registration. With her husband and a group of friends joining her in the race, Katie is ready to make it a symbol of triumph and a commitment to supporting others facing the challenges of cancer. 

 "Having my family and friends who supported me through my surgeries and treatments at my side, all of us running to give back to the very Foundation I benefited from, is going to be very emotional. I know how lucky I am; not everyone’s story is as happy as mine is. I am so grateful to be here to run this race for those who can’t, and to have the added perk of hair swinging from side to side as I run thanks to scalp cooling.”

To support OhioHealth’s Scalp Cooling Therapy Program, click here. 
To register for the OhioHealth Capital City Half & Quarter Marathon, click here. 
To learn more about Scalp Cooling Therapy at OhioHealth, click here. 

Katie Foster with Family at Treatment