Wright State faculty receives Wellington Foundation Award


FAIRBORN —Karen Wellington Foundation for Living with Breast Cancer greeted Dr. Mary Jo Trout with a surprise vacation after a midday meeting on Monday.

Trout works as the director of therapeutics curriculum, as well as an assistant professor in the department of geriatrics, pharmacology and toxicology at the Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State University, and is currently battling cancer for the second time in her life. She beat thyroid cancer 20 years ago, but was diagnosed with breast cancer in December, and is currently pursuing treatment. Her students and colleagues gathered to present the award, and offer words of encouragement.

“Dr. Trout, from the moment I met you, you had this energy that made me want to gravitate toward you; you’re kind, you’re warm, you’re welcoming and you go above and beyond,” Kevin Purcell, a second year medical student at the Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State University, said. “I know plenty of times we would come to your office and you’d be busy, but when we’d get there you’d tell us to stay and would help us.”

Multiple colleagues and Boonshoft School of Medicine students nominated Trout, including Dr. Sabrina Neeley, Dr. Brenda Roman, Laura Johnson, Dr. Paul Koles, John Needles, Aaron Smith, Purcell and Minh-Tri Nguyen. Trout smiled and joked that had she known, she would have chosen a different outfit for the day.

“It’s hard to make me speechless, but I think you’ve done it,” Trout said after receiving the news. “I am overwhelmed with joy, with excitement, and I’m trying not to cry. Thank you all; I’m shocked, but thank you all very much.”

Jaimie Christian, who serves as the president of the Karen Wellington Foundation Dayton chapter, said she hopes to give Trout something to look forward to in the midst of meeting appointment after appointment of treatments.

“What the Karen Wellington Foundation does, is we provide fun for women and their families that are going through breast cancer,” Christian said. “The Karen Wellington Foundation overwhelmingly decided to give you and your husband a trip, so we have one in the works for you.”

The details of such will be ironed out at a later time according to Trout’s schedule. Her husband, Tim Trout, hopes it will give her a sense of control in a time when things feel chaotic.

“I’m excited for her. It was a complete surprise, which is always a good thing — they wanted to make sure it stayed that way, and we were able to,” he said. “I want Mary Jo to have a say in what she does because so many things are out of her control right now, so she can control something that’s a good thing.”

The Karen Wellington Foundation was established in 2007 in memory of Karen, who battled breast cancer for 10 years, according to its website, karenwellingtonfoundation.org. It aims to send women and their families to participate in fun activities, such as vacations and spa days, as they are battling breast cancer. The foundation was able to provide 50 vacations and 20 spa days last year, and includes chapters in Atlanta and Cleveland in addition to Dayton.

“This is an example of the caring nature of Boonshoft School of Medicine, and that it really is an inspiration to me that all of the people have taken notice,” Trout said after the ceremony took place. “Other than the stupid hat, I try not to make it obvious that I’m going through it (cancer). Yet, everyone has taken notice and has helped with it. It is an encouraging place to work and be a part of.”

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