It’s one of those phrases no one ever wants to hear: you have cancer. Yet, for one of our team members, it was a phrase that would be the beginning of a new chapter, a new obstacle she would overcome.
Peggy Dean had a wonderful childhood. Born in Germany to an American father and a German mother, Peggy and her family moved to Laurinburg to follow her father’s work in electrical engineering.
She decided to follow in her father’s footsteps and go to NC State for electrical engineering, yet the summer after high school upon meeting her future husband, her entire life would change course. She stayed close to home, going to St. Andrews before finishing a medical technology degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her husband also went to UNC for pharmacy school.
Together, the two would have two children, a son and a daughter.
“I have been active in my church for a long time, and one thing I really enjoy doing is visiting people,” said Peggy. “I came to Scotia Village in 2006 as an extension of that.”
Hired initially as a part-time assistant Resident Services person, Peggy worked one day a week alongside another person who would work four days.
“I did that for 10 years before learning that she was going to retire in November of 2016, and I was offered the position that January. A voice in my mind told me to take it, so I did.
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in April of that year.”
Though everyone goes through many trials and tribulations, Peggy credits the family-like atmosphere and her support network of residents and friends for being her haven in a dark time.
“Everyone here was so supportive,” she said. “We all have a comical and loving relationship with one another much like family.”
After her surgery, Peggy didn’t miss more than three weeks of work along with her one day a week for chemotherapy.
“Residents would joke with me when I lost my hair,” Peggy said with a laugh. “But I knew they really cared for me and had my back. Many of them were an inspiration with their tenacity to just keep going.”
Now in remission, Peggy’s hair is growing back, and she still wakes up every morning looking forward to the friendly and familiar faces she finds when going to work at Scotia Village.
“I wake up in the morning and love going to work,” said Peggy. “And when I go home every day, I feel like I’ve accomplished something.
“The people here care and love you. You become friends with absolutely everyone.”