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‘Scripture says, it is better to give than to receive’ Cancer Patient Donates N95 Masks During COVID-19 Pandemic

By Ursula V. Battle | 7/3/2020, 6 a.m.
“Her kind gesture reminds us of why we are doing our jobs.” —Dr. Christian Rolfo
Dr. Christian Rolfo, director of the Thoracic Medical Oncology and the Early Clinical Trials at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center (UMGCCC) and patient Carol Pitts Wilson pictured prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, Pitts Wilson gave five of her N95 masks to Dr. Rolfo, who is treating her for a carcinoid tumor. Masks were also distributed to members of his staff. “Scripture says, it is better to give than to receive,” said Pitts Wilson regarding the donation of the highly-sought after masks. Photo Courtesy of Dr. Christian Rolfo

On March 13, 2020, the Novel Coronavirus Disease, COVID-19, was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, Two days later, on March 13, 2020 a national emergency was declared in the United States concerning the COVID-19 Outbreak. PPE (Personal Protection Equipment), which acts as a barrier between infectious materials and its wearer, was in high demand, but in short supply.

Much of the world was scrambling to get PPE. Those fortunate enough to have masks, gloves, and other PPE, tried to stretch their supply as best they could. But for Carol Pitts Wilson, who had the highly-sought after n95 masks, it was best to follow exactly what The Bible says in

Acts 20:35.

Dr. Christian Rolfo and patient Carol Pitts Wilson. Dr. Rolfo is treating Pitts Wilson for a carcinoid tumor.

Courtesy Photo

Dr. Christian Rolfo and patient Carol Pitts Wilson. Dr. Rolfo is treating Pitts Wilson for a carcinoid tumor.

“Scripture says, it is better to give than to receive,” said Pitts Wilson. “Giving does make a difference in someone’s life.”

Pitts Wilson gave five of her N95 masks to Dr. Christian Rolfo, director of the Thoracic Medical Oncology and the Early Clinical Trials at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center (UMGCCC). Masks were also distributed to members of his staff. Dr. Rolfo specializes in thoracic oncology, drug development and translational oncology, and is treating Pitts for a carcinoid tumor. Pitts made the donation on March 31, 2020 at the Center’s Greene Street location.

“Dr. Rolfo and I developed not only a doctor-patient relationship, but a friendship,” said Pitts Wilson who is 70-years-old. “I wanted to give back to Dr. Rolfo. He is trying to save my life, and I wanted to help save his life. Dr. Rolfo also has a two-year-old son. I wanted him to continue to do his work and teach his son to be as loving and caring as he is. To give back in such a way really felt good.”

A carcinoid tumor is a slow-growing cancerous tumor that can grow in

several places throughout the body. A carcinoid tumor often begins in the stomach, appendix, small intestine, colon, rectum, or in the lungs.

“In January of 2019, Dr. Rolfo started treating me for a carcinoid tumor sitting outside my lungs,” recalled Pitts Wilson, noting she was not a smoker. “It was about the size of an avocado. It sat too close to my aorta for them to remove it, so I was not a candidate for surgery. This is a rare form of cancer. I took chemotherapy for two weeks, and have had proton therapy. I am being treated with hormone shots to continue to treat the tumor, to stop the cancer cells from spreading, and to kill them off.

“Some have spread to areas of my bones and I am being treated for that. I had to get an endoscopy and colonoscopy and all those tests came back good. The tumor is not growing, and the bad cells are decreasing.”

Pitts Wilson recalled when she first sought treatment.

“I was having labored breathing for about three days in December 2019. Then it got to the point where I could not breathe. I went to Union Memorial and they sent me for a battery of tests. The tumor was pressing against my lungs, which gave me the labored breathing.”

Pitts Wilson, wJ1

ho is retired, attends One God One Thought Center for Better Living on Coronado Road, where Rev. Bernette Jones serves as Senior Pastor.

“It’s been a trying year,” said Pitts Wilson. “It’s not that I don’t waver at times, but my love of God and all the ministers and prayer warriors have helped me to get through this. I don’t know why I got cancer. I just know that I have to continue to love, and in every situation turn negatives into positives and move on in life.”

Dr. Rolfo said he and his staff are overwhelmed by Pitt Wilson’s kindness.

“We are emotional about this,” said Dr. Rolfo of the donation. “It makes us feel that we are important to both the community and patients. I was obviously very happy about Carol’s donation. But I was not surprised, because I know her generosity.”

He added, “She is responding very well to treatment, and we are very happy for Carol. Her kind gesture reminds us of why we are doing our jobs. Obviously, we are using these types of masks. Having extra material in addition to what the hospital is giving us was fantastic.”