By Debra J. Groom
Christine Learned has been named Hannibal Library’s Woman of the Year.
It was the sixth time the award has been presented. She was honored during a special lunch and program March 22 at the library.
Learned, 41, worked as a certified nursing assistant at St. Luke’s in Oswego for seven years before she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
She took time out for surgery and treatment, all the while also taking care of her family, which includes three daughters and a granddaughter.
“I loved my job — I love taking care of the elderly,” she said during a phone interview Wednesday.
She tried to go back to her job, but found the mastectomy surgery made it difficult to care for the nursing home residents properly.
She was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in 2004, but did go into remission. But in September 2013, she was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer.
“There is no cure for my cancer, so I am taking medications that help in stabilizing it,” she said. “Now, I’m living life, taking care of my family and doing what I can. I remain hopeful.”
Her family includes daughters Kayla, 22, who worked in Radisson; Sarra, 16, who attends Hannibal High; and Amanda, 13, a student at Kenney Middle. She also has a granddaughter Claire, 2 1/2, who she looks after during the day.
Learned received a plaque and certificates for being named Woman of the Year.
“I am very honored,” she said. “I was in total shock — it was totally unexpected.”
Women nominated for the honor this year were: Donna Blake, Linda Ford, Christine Bortel Learned, Kim Heins, Carol Newvine, Linda Remig, Lenore Richards and Shelly Stanton.
Residents of the area voted on the nominees through March 15.
The annual award was begun by librarian Shelly Stanton as a way of recognizing outstanding women in the community. It always is done in March — which is Women’s History Month.