AUSTIN (KXAN) — Mama Bear, genuine, a high caliber of caring, that was my takeaway after hearing about Marcia Talbert, a longtime nurse at St. David’s Rehabilitation Hospital.
“Everybody knew Marcia,” Diane Jones recalls when asked about her friend and co-worker. “She just had a huge character, and everybody loved her. And if I had a loved one in the hospital, I would want Marcia to be their nurse, for sure.”
Her legacy at the hospital and her sudden death is now helping save lives.
“She had these shoes that had a spring in them. And she was proud of her spring shoes and got plenty of her steps of her own in in those shoes walking all around the rehab hospital,” Megan Koppenhoefer said, another friend and coworker of Marcia.
Marcia walked up and down the halls of St. David’s checking up on her patients and taking care of her coworkers. For her colleagues, it made sense to honor her memory by organizing a fundraiser through a step challenge. They called it Miles for Marcia.
The winning team logged 2,300 miles and the entire group of steppers raised more than $8,000 for the American Heart Association.
Marcia, a nurse of 50 years, 25 years with St. David’s, died of a heart attack in August. Even a nurse with her experience can miss the signs. Marcia initially thought she was experiencing heart burn.
“She did have plans to get it checked out,” Koppenhoefer said about her friend who complained about having chest pains days before her death. “Marcia was a stubborn one, too, right. So as much as her peers and family prodded her to see a doctor, she was putting it off for a little bit.”
Chest discomfort is just one of the ways your body is telling you something could be wrong. The American Heart Association says the pain could be in the center of the chest and last more than a few minutes or come and go. There are other signs including shortness of breath, and nausea. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women.
“She dedicated her life to taking care of people and to medicine,” Jones, the step challenge organizer said. “And to hear that she suddenly passed away of a heart attack. It just struck me in a way that I thought we need to do something to honor her memory, but also give back to the community and possibly help educate people about heart disease so maybe this doesn’t happen to someone else.”
And if you happen to go to St. David’s Rehabilitation Hospital you will see a street sign in the hallway called Talbert Way, a reminder and conversation piece about Marcia.
“Marcia was just very genuine; you knew where you stood. And if you were not doing something up to the standards that she thought they should be done, she would let you know and not in a mean way, just helping to educate, you know. And that’s just who she was. And I think that we kind of all aim to be like that. That’s how we want to remember her.”
Jose Torres is a morning news producer with KXAN. His blog will bring stories of hope and determination from others who have fought through their own health struggles and life challenges. He looks forward to sharing those conversations in future blogs.