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Finding Her Way to Help Others

Published on 05/23/2022
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Jenn Ruebush
Community Outreach Coordinator

The third of five kids, Ayesha Bailey grew up in a really close family in Delaware County, PA. The Bailey kids were the ones with parents willing to be the “go to” house with an open door and a place for friends to hang out. The rest of her family still lives near Philly, and she’s adjusting to not living or working closer to them. However, with evenings and holidays off now, Ayesha looks forward to staying a big part of their lives. Family are among her favorite people!

Ayesha always knew she wanted to work with and help people. Exactly how she does that has evolved over time. Initially, in high school, she studied nursing, but decided that wasn’t for her. She worked several years in retail, enjoyed it, and did quite well. Looking back, she realized that her favorite aspect of that work was the people part - working with customers, but even more so encouraging and helping those she worked with to grow.

When her older sister became seriously ill, Ayesha left that job to become a caregiver for her. It was very hands-on work. Her mother did most of the day work, and Ayesha took the night shift. She also cared for her sister’s son alongside her two young boys, all close in age. Tragically, Ayesha’s sister passed away 11 years ago.

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After that experience, Ayesha wanted to do more to help others in a healthcare setting. She joined Aetna as a coordinator in the care management department. She identified problems and connected patients to resources in what can be a very overwhelming healthcare system. Ayesha explained, “I’ve been there. There’s a lot you just don’t know.” In that role, she built relationships with patients and said, “It’s very satisfying to hear back and to know they’re doing well.”

From there, Ayesha took a job working on patient discharges in another healthcare system. Unfortunately that experience proved disappointing for many reasons. There, healthcare felt like more of a numbers game, and her job no longer was rewarding. Ayesha left that position and worked her way over to Penn Medicine.

The Clyde F. Barker Penn Transplant House celebrated 10 years of service in 2021. Ayesha worked with a small team there for seven of those formative years. The Transplant House serves as a home away from home for Penn transplant patients and their families and caregivers. When people arrive at the Transplant House, Ayesha shared, “there are so many nerves and anxiousness and such, so a big part of what I pushed for as a team is that I need you to, in whatever way, to whomever walked in that door, give them all you can to wipe away concerns over whatever we can control and welcome them.” She worked on finding transportation and resources as well as funding and grants to help with the financial strain of major health crises. Ayesha became close with the patients and their families. “I feel accomplished with what I did there,” she considered, “We built a good foundation there.”

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A couple of years ago, Ayesha and her family moved to Delaware. The commute to Penn became burdensome, and thankfully, Ayesha saw our job posting. She joins LCS as our Health Program Outreach Manager, focusing on smoking cessation. Her role is to make sure that LCS is getting the word out about the Delaware Quitline and the free resources it provides to help people quit smoking.

To meet that goal, Ayesha will network and build relationships more statewide. Currently, she has a lot of meetings lined up and has been gaining foundational knowledge of what we have here already and will branch out into the community to expand our reach. Ayesha is putting pieces together and is excited to start connecting with the Delaware community. If you have suggestions for an organization, facility, or event she should visit, let her know!

“I saw heart and lung transplant patients and the impact of smoking on their lives. They were the hardest population and stayed the longest at the transplant house. I’m looking forward to being on the prevention side now, to see what kind of impact we can make.” Helping people to quit smoking not only improves health, but can save a pack-a-day smoker some $2,500 a year. Both of these outcomes align with the mission of LCS and help people move from emergency to empowerment.

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From what she’s seen so far at LCS, Ayesha said, “I’m super excited and comfortable. It just meshes with who I am. I’m a questions person. I talk a lot. I’m interested in life and people and things. I like to have fun with life. Things change in the blink of an eye, like with my sister. Don’t wait to make the most of life!”

“I feel like I’m living in my passion, what I was made to do. I just came to that understanding in the past year. This is home. This is what I’m supposed to do.”

Welcome, Ayesha! Your positive outlook, compassionate energy, and rainbow smiley face ball already make a difference here. We can’t wait to see what you do with LCS!

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