Westmont Magazine Physicians, Fire, and Family
Physicians, fire, and family—all three have played an important role in Cindy Bartram Carter’s life since she graduated from Westmont in 1987. She uses her biology/pre-med major as a clinical research associate at the Scottsdale, Arizona, branch of the Mayo Clinic.
Cindy knew she wanted to pursue a medical career after she worked with a group of physicians in Guatemala following graduation. When she returned home to Scottsdale, she landed a job at the clinic’s newly opened branch.
“I was fortunate that some of the doctors took me under wing,” Cindy recalls. “That way, I received training within the Mayo system from physicians who truly care about their patients and co-workers,” she adds.
Since then, Cindy has moved into the area of cancer research. As a clinical research associate, she places patients in studies designed to treat all types of cancer and works with physicians in tracking their progress.
“The littlest things make such a big difference,” Cindy reflects. “You can tell when a simple smile or just holding someone’s hand helps them cope with this disease, even for a little while—that’s what keeps me rolling!”
Cindy also works with healthy people who volunteer to try various regimens for cancer prevention. Encouraged that the National Cancer Institute now allots money for such studies, she finds this part of her job particularly challenging. “We’re finally on the road to discovering good cancer prevention methods,” she comments.
But that’s not all Cindy has done since 1987. In fact, her “favorite part of life” continues her Potter’s Clay experience at Westmont.
“During the four years I went to the Mexican village of Bella Vista, I became very close to the assistant pastor and his wife and knew I wanted our relationship to continue,” she recalls. “When I returned to Bella Vista for a wedding in January of 1988, it solidified my commitment to keep making the trip.”
Cindy’s resolve has led her to organize a group of eight to 20 people to travel to Paraíso, Mexico, every two to three months. Her friends, Ruben and Graciela Casteneda, now minister in this village.
“I hesitate to call them just friends,” Cindy insists, “since I really consider them a part of my extended family. My parents and brother go with us to Paraíso—my father hasn’t missed a trip in years—we even celebrate Christmas together.” The Castenedas named their two girls after Cindy and her mother, which she considers an honor. She adds, “That part of Westmont will never end for me.”
The teams Cindy leads conduct construction projects and vacation Bible school type programs at a migrant camp and church. Her contacts at the Mayo Clinic have allowed them to take donated medical supplies and hold a medical weekend there once a year.
A recent fire in the Carters’ attic has made Cindy even more aware of the important things in life. “We’ve experienced a series of blessings through this ordeal, from the help of our neighbors to the prayers of our church family,” she says.
Now living at the local Residence Inn, the Carters hope to move back into their home by Thanksgiving. “But we’ll be happy if we’re home for Christmas,” she muses.