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TODAY news for Thursday, January 29, 2007

Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center news

LLUAHSC vice president recovering from brain surgery

W. Augustus and Ida Cheatham
W. Augustus and Ida Cheatham
W. Augustus Cheatham, MSW, vice president for public affairs and marketing, Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center, is recovering following surgery for a small brain tumor.

Mr. Cheatham experienced symptoms on January 8 and 9 that caused him to seek medical attention. A small tumor was identified and removed on Wednesday, January 10.

“The surgery was a great success and my physicians expect me to recover fully,” Mr. Cheatham says. “The prayers on my behalf are evident in the speedy recovery that has already been my privilege.”

Mr. Cheatham expressed his gratitude that God still works miracles. “Within 24 hours, I experienced three serious episodes. I am so thankful that these episodes happened here in Loma Linda instead of when I was on the road traveling recently with my wife, Ida, and grandchildren. If one of these episodes had occurred while I was driving my motor home loaded with 200 gallons of fuel, a serious, even fatal, accident may have occurred.”

In an interview from his hospital room, Mr. Cheatham expressed appreciation to the entire Loma Linda University Medical Center and East Campus Hospital staffs. “I have been receiving wonderful care here at Loma Linda. Every individual that I have come in contact with has been loving, caring, and very professional.” Mr. Cheatham was transferred from the Medical Center to East Campus Hospital on Tuesday evening, January 16.

Mr. Cheatham noted that his job is marketing the Medical Center to the public. “As vice president, it is part of my responsibility to relate to the community about the superb medical care delivered at Loma Linda.

“Now when I return to work, I will be able to deliver this same message—but this time from a firsthand experience.”

Assisting Mr. Cheatham in his recovery process in addition to the medical staff have been Mr. Cheatham’s three children—William L. “Billy” Cheatham III of Frederick, Maryland, a physician assistant in the mental health department at the Baltimore Veterans Administration Hospital; Marta L. Cheatham-Lott, MD, a Los Angeles area OB/GYN physician and a 1994 graduate of the School of Medicine; and Nicole R. Cheatham, an area resident and real estate investor.

“I have been blessed with wonderful children,” Mr. Cheatham says. “One or more of my children have been with me around the clock.”

Immediately upon learning of Mr. Cheatham’s illness, one of his brothers, Wendell Cheatham, MD, a Washington, D.C., endocrinologist, flew to Loma Linda to participate in Mr. Cheatham’s medical care. Another brother, Charles Cheatham, president of the Allegheny East Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and an advisor to the Loma Linda University Board of Trustees, also flew to Loma Linda to be with Mr. Cheatham.

“It would be natural to focus on the negatives when something like this happens,” Mr. Cheatham says, “but the positives far outweigh the negatives. God is on our side and He is our encouragement and is always fair.

“The staff at the Medical Center and East Campus Hospital have been like ‘little angels,’” Mr. Cheatham says. “All of them have such an incredible, positive attitude shown through their compassion, kindness, gentleness, smiles, and prayers.

“What is comforting to me is knowing that each of our five or six hundred patients are receiving the same type of positive care that I am receiving.”

Mr. Cheatham especially appreciates the “healing gardens” of the East Campus Hospital and the intense rehabilitative therapy he is receiving at the facility. “It is so pleasant to be able to look and sit outside and enjoy the fresh air.”

Each day, Mr. Cheatham and his family continue to focus on caring for Ida, his bride of 43 years, who has suffered from multiple sclerosis for approximately 40 years. “Ida is a constant inspiration to me, her family, and friends,” Mr. Cheatham says.

Mr. Cheatham refers to his grandchildren as one of his greatest blessings. They often travel with him and his wife, visiting such places as the Grand Canyon, Bryce, and Zion National Parks.

No date has been set as to when Mr. Cheatham will resume his responsibilities at Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center.

Mr. Cheatham joined the Loma Linda family in July 1985 as vice president for public relations and development for Loma Linda University.

Prior to coming to Loma Linda, Mr. Cheatham served in numerous government positions including chief of western operations for the division of education for the disadvantaged—a section of the United States Office of Education in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. He later served as deputy director for the office of civil rights in the same office.

He left government service in 1982 as deputy assistant secretary for compensatory education in the office of education when he accepted the position as principal at Pine Forge Academy, Pine Forge, Pennsylvania, at the request of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

In addition to his LLUASHC position, Mr. Cheatham is vice president for public affairs and marketing for Loma Linda University Medical Center and vice chancellor for public affairs for Loma Linda University.

By Richard Weismeyer

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On a personal note, those of us who work with Mr. Cheatham on a day-by-day basis join the thousands of Loma Linda employees and friends wishing him a full and speedy recovery.

Mr. Cheatham, you and your family are constantly in our prayers.
            –The editors

TODAY news for Thursday, January 29, 2007