Ellie Cook

A Generation of Helping

As a second generation social worker, Ellie Cook said helping people during the hardest moments in their life brought her to CHI Saint Joseph Health.  

“My mom was a social worker for a while, before she had children and then she became a teacher,” Ellie said. “She would drive my sister and myself to houses where we’d take people clothes or food. That resonated with me.”

Ellie, who is a social worker for Saint Joseph East’s oncology resource center, facilitates support groups and provides help and resources for cancer patients and survivors. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started in March, Ellie said she and co-workers had to adapt to a new platform for their support group meetings.

“When COVID-19 hit, we went to Zoom meetings, which I was hesitant about doing, but it’s really taken off,” Ellie said. “We were meeting a couple of times a month, but now we meet weekly. It’s been really successful. The women really connect with each other.”

Ellie transitioned into her current position from a 30-year career at Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital after a personal experience with cancer.

“About two years ago, my husband had a cancer scare,” Ellie said. “He went to the cancer center at [Saint Joseph Hospital]. There I reconnected with Martha Keys, my social worker friend from our days together at Cardinal Hill.”

After her experience, Ellie found the organization’s mission matched her newfound call to help those dealing with the hardships of cancer.

“[At CHI Saint Joseph Health,] I feel like I’m helping people, connecting them to resources,” Ellie said. “I can help patients pay their utility bills, assist with rent payments, assist with transportation or even wig resources. All those things touch people, and people are so appreciative of it.”

Throughout a long career helping people as a second-generation social worker, Ellie’s proudest moment came when her oldest daughter decided to become a social worker – a legacy established.

In the future, Ellie said she is looking forward to retiring with her husband to the Charleston, South Carolina area, where she wants to continue gardening and antiquing near the beachfront.