Even though he had never played a game of golf before, Joel Shriberg made his first trip to Pinehurst in 1989 for a golfing vacation with a friend. He quickly fell in love with the place and its people.
“I told my wife, ‘We’re going to live here someday,’” he recalls.
Shriberg was touched by the friendliness and caring of the people he met – the same caring that he would encounter 15 years later after he was diagnosed with breast cancer.
There are only about 1,000 reported cases of male breast cancer in the United States each year, and Shriberg naturally wanted the best possible care for his unusual condition. Since he and his wife had moved to Pinehurst from Boston and had a number of acquaintances in the medical community there, he flew back to seek the advice of a friend, a well-regarded surgeon.
That friend confirmed the breast cancer diagnosis, but encouraged Shriberg to return to Pinehurst and Moore Regional for treatment. Go back, he said; it would be important to have “a hospital of this quality so close” to home.
Shriberg returned to Pinehurst for the full gamut of cancer services at Moore Regional – from surgery to chemotherapy and radiation therapy and then follow-up PET scans two times each year. Four years ago, when follow-up revealed that the cancer had metastasized to a lung, treatment began again.
With his cancer again in remission, Shriberg now enjoys an active lifestyle that includes his role as vice chair of the Moore Regional Hospital Board of Trustees. He also volunteers in the FirstHealth Outpatient Cancer Center, where he constantly observes the same level of courtesy and caring that was so comforting to him when he was a patient.
“The people who work here just care,” he says. “I think the hospital mirrors the community. Everybody here cares.”
As an Outpatient Cancer Center volunteer, Shriberg occasionally shares his personal cancer experience with patients who are just beginning their own cancer journey. As vice chair of the MRH Board, he occasionally accompanies Cindy McNeill-McDonald, FirstHealth’s vice president of Quality, on rounds of the hospital’s nursing units.
During those rounding occasions, he always asks the employees he meets about their concerns, encouraging them to be frank. Their comments almost always focus on patient care – lower staff-to-patient ratios or a new piece of patient care equipment.
Shriberg says he is “astounded at the level of care” that members of the nursing staff have for their patients. “This is a fabulous hospital,” he says.