A Real World Success: Wellness

Manatee County Schools Wellness Program Detects Deadly Disease

BRADENTON — A Manatee County teacher credits her job for saving her life.

“Without it, there’s a good possibility that I wouldn’t be sitting here,” said Ellen Binder, a reading teacher at King Middle School in Bradenton.

Binder said that after taking a free routine wellness exam the district provides to teachers on the job, she discovered she had a life-threatening disease.

“Over and over again, the doctors told me that this was an unusual occurrence,” Binder said. “To be able to detect something like this without symptoms was rare.”

Tests revealed Binder had early stages of pancreatic cancer. It’s a disease that typically has a poor prognosis.

Advanced registered nurse practitioner Kim Sand, who works in Bradenton, said Binder is extremely lucky.

“That’s very rare you find that one early,” Sand said.

Most people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer do not discover it until it’s advanced and typically do not survive. Binder is now cancer free.

She’s sharing her story in hopes of helping others.

She’s also urging teachers and staff to take advantage of this program.

Jackie Timms, the school nurse at King, said those who already have are thankful they did.

“It’s really identified a lot of medical problems that the staff was not aware they had,” Timms said.

It’s a success story that reminds everyone about the importance of getting a wellness exam every year.

“The leading causes of mortality in the United States are heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes,” Sand said. “These diseases can be identified early through screenings and wellness exams.”

The exams are offered at each school site. They used to be federally funded by the Retiree Drug Subsidy program. District officials say this program has been discontinued.

As a result, the Manatee County school district now pays for the screenings, which cost approximately $67 dollars each, with funds from the self-insured medical plan.

The screenings are limited to the first 30 employees that sign up at each location.

via Bay News 9