Hometown Heroes: Code Gray advocates for cancer patients

- Bailey Rhodes is one tough girl. She spent the first half of high school battling bone cancer and most of her junior and senior year fighting leukemia.

"I just looked at it (cancer) as my goal is to get out of here (the hospital) because I have a lot of stuff to do; and I kept focused," explained Bailey.

Even though she missed more than a year of school and spent months in the hospital, Bailey is still graduating on time with honors.

"She's a fighter. She never let cancer get in the way. She always maintained a positive outlook," said PJ Goetz, Bailey's nursing assistant instructor at Wharton High School.

Bailey jokes that she's kind of a control freak; but her desire for information and understanding is exactly how she and her classmates came up with Code Gray, a special booklet designed to help cancer patients self-advocate and track their progress.

"If you are the patient, you are the only constant that's always there. You're the one receiving the medicine; you're the one who knows exactly how it feels and how you react to certain things," said Bailey.

Inside each booklet is a section to help patients keep track of their medication, diet, test results and doctor visits.

Bailey kept track of her treatments and even caught a medical mistake along the way.

"My logic was, 'if I'm getting stuck with the needle, I can ask about the needle'," said Bailey.

Now she's encouraging other patients to take charge of their treatment and recovery with Code Gray, too.
"I'm not afraid to speak up for myself. Just because you don't have a medical degree, doesn't mean you don't know what's going on," said Bailey.

Bailey hopes Code Gray will help other patients realize that even though they're sick, they're not helpless; there's power in their voice.

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