Bremen extends hospitality to cyclist on a mission

Debbie O’Keefe listened to her voicemail Wednesday morning in the administration offices of Community Hospital of Bremen.

After a glance at the time, and a quick Google search, the executive assistant sprang into action to help a stranger on a noble mission.

O’Keefe explained the unusual request to hospital President David Bailey. A man by the name of Brent Bundy, of Portland, Oregon, hoped to stop by the hospital that afternoon and pitch his tent outside for a night. She explained how his personal plight is to increase breast cancer awareness.

Bundy has already cycled more than 2,200 miles since June, and he is aiming to complete the 3,400-mile-route to Staten Island, New York, before Halloween.

Media outlets across the country have covered his travels, O’Keefe described.

This is actually Bundy’s sixth cross-country bicycle ride for breast cancer awareness. Whenever possible, he stops at hospitals and talk with those who work with breast cancer patients, whether it be radiation or oncology professionals.

Bundy tells them about Gina, his close friend of 20 years from high school who died in 2004, and whose name is affixed to his bicycle helmet in giant letters.

It’s in her memory that he gets on his bike and cycles 50-plus miles a day for five months out of the year.

It’s for her that he thanks those who care for patients with breast cancer.

It’s in Gina’s honor that Bundy talks about the importance of being screened for breast cancer with people he meets from coast-to-coast. “Every day I think about Gina. She’s my inspiration,” he said. “And I hope I’ve had some impact.”

Bundy explains his own Google search that led him to Community Hospital of Bremen on Wednesday. “I googled ‘hospital’ and ‘Bremen’ and there was only one.”

O’Keefe knew hospital leaders would want to help.

“I asked if it would be a possibility to given him a room, a meal, a shower, or just a spot for his tent,” she said, and indeed, Bailey and the Bremen team extended their hospitality to the special guest.

Andrea Koontz, BSN, RN, vice president of quality and case management, approached radiation team members about visiting with Bundy when he stopped by. And did everything they could to ensure he could sleep inside, where it was cool and dry.

“We looked to make sure we had a room available so he could shower and rest,” Koontz said. “We made up the room with fresh linens and towels and gave him meal cards for the cafe.”

Bundy smiled. “It doesn’t get any better than that.”

Shortly before 3 p.m., he pedaled up to the front door of the hospital wearing a pink helmet on a bicycle also decked out in pink. Koontz introduced him to April Tener, RT and Director of Radiology, Missy Cox, RT, diagnostic imaging, and Macy Howard, RDMS.

He thanked the team for their service and dedication, after which time the group took photos and, along with Koontz, filmed a Facebook Live about Bundy’s journey, mission, and the importance of breast cancer screenings.

“Gina found out very late in the game, so it limited some of her treatment options. But the better we can do at screening, the more opportunity we have to save lives,” Koontz said. “Whenever any stories are out there, awareness for breast cancer, people may start the conversation with a physician, friend or neighbor and follow through with a test. Prevention is the key.”

Bailey said this is a great example of Bremen associates putting our best foot forward for the well-being of the community. 

“Community Hospital of Bremen strives to bring awareness to not only breast cancer, but all types of illnesses affecting those we care for. CHB has a long-standing history of working with others in the community to assist wherever needed,” Bailey said.

“Offering some assistance to Mr. Bundy in his personal journey to highlight breast cancer awareness is just another day at the office for us,” he added. “As a proud part of Beacon Health System, it is our pleasure to serve.”