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An Ounce of Prevention: What's Your Financial Diagnosis?

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I've always been a regular visitor to the dermatologist. I have an Irish background, so I’ve got red in my hair (or did when I was younger) and plenty of freckles. For the week before each visit, I'd do a self-check so I could be sure to point out to the doctor anything that looked suspicious.

Before one of my appointments, however, I had forgotten to do that. That morning, I was standing in front of the mirror in the bathroom when one of my kids called my name. As I turned my head to look over my shoulder, I noticed a little dot on my neck I'd never noticed before. I mentioned it to the dermatologist later that day, and she cut it off without hesitation and sent it to the pathologist. It turned out it was melanoma in situ—so we caught it early. Everything worked out fine, thankfully, but if it weren’t for those kinds of checkups, it could have been pretty bad.

Prevention With a Heart

That melanoma experience made me realize the importance of early detection, and it reminded me of a great program offered by St. Luke's that's also about prevention: the Athletic Heart Clinic. As a board member of the St. Luke's Foundation, one of my favorite parts is hearing about a patient success story. It turns out sudden cardiac arrest strikes about 100 athletes each year, and most are between 13 and 25 years old. Seven out of 10 of these athletes will have no warning signs, but nearly all of the cases could easily be prevented with a simple heart screening. And that's just what the hospital is offering—a simple way to spot a problem before it's too late, before a major heart event happens to one of our sons or daughters on the field or court.

At one of the meetings, we learned that since the program launched, St. Luke's has already identified students with these types of heart issues that were indeed fixable. Just like my mole, the issue was caught before it turned into something much worse.

Programs like this one make me proud to serve on the board and support the work St. Luke's does in the community. I grew up near the hospital, and many of the doctors lived in our neighborhood. My sixth child was born at St. Luke's South, and the ER helped dislodge a jalapeño pepper from my son's throat a couple years back (it's a long story but of course involves a challenge from one of his brothers). Needless to say, I'm thankful for St. Luke's.

Mind Money Matters

Preventing health issues – whether it's skin cancer, cardiac arrest, or something else – takes the same kind of vigilance I like to apply to my finances. When I had that melanoma on my neck, it worried me at the time. I thought, "Gosh, I hope I have everything in place." It caused me to take a few more preparatory actions in my life I hadn’t done. I realized you shouldn’t wait for that kind of thing to happen before you get yourself ready.

As our bank associates work with a client, they do a great job of spotting potential risks and opportunities to improve the overall financial picture. It doesn't matter if you're looking to start a new business, open a college savings account, or build wealth for retirement—it helps to come in for a "checkup" to make sure your financial picture is as strong as it should be. This kind of advice is invaluable, and it gives you peace of mind.

Just as I'll continue my regular dermatology visits, I encourage you to give your finances a quick checkup as well. Keeping everything in focus can get a little challenging, but we can help you understand your options and work with you to craft the best plan for your needs.

Joining in 1996, Mark Thompson serves as chairman of the Country Club Trust Company, vice chairman of Country Club Bank, and president of CCB Financial Corporation. He's happy to report his son who battled the jalapeño is now excelling at Georgetown University (Mark's alma mater)—but still isn't a fan of spicy foods.

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Mark Thompson

Vice Chairman

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