Cathy Bottrell

Class of 1982

Look at Cathy Bottrell’s Facebook photos and you’ll see a woman who takes her job very seriously;  there are pictures of her posing with fairy princesses, welcoming Storm Troopers, wearing pajamas to the office, dressed like a super hero, and doing a dance routine with a rolling office chair.

Cathy doesn’t work at a theme park: she works for the Inova Life with Cancer Center.

Inova offers a raft of free programming for individuals and families who are facing cancer, and Cathy is involved at every level to do her part to add simplicity to bureaucracy and lend guidance in what can be a stressful world of treatments.  She is a licensed clinical social worker who spent 8 years working with HIV patients, and now finds herself helping families maneuver complicated systems of health care while also finding time for the joys of life. Focusing on cancer treatment while also trying to maintain positive outlook can be tricky; Cathy’s work intervenes to help maintain a healthy balance.

She’s an oncology clinical therapist at Inova Life with Cancer - Inova Schar Cancer Institute – a large facility with 40 employees. They have a family center that is a like a large home where cancer patients can learn how to deal with cancer from day to day while also maintaining quality of life for their families.

Cathy Botrell will go to extremes to cheer up her friends at work: even if it means dressing like Batman. Much of Cathy’s work is with children – hence all the princesses and storm troopers – and that can be difficult; but Cathy doesn’t let the sadness keep her away from the people she loves to serve. “The families I work with show me the strength of love and compassion and how strong and brave people can be. I’m so honored to be a part of their journey during their difficult times.”

So if you see Cathy headed to work wearing a funny mask or a cape, don’t be surprised. Just know that she’s on her way to the office – where she performs acts of heroic goodness, all in a day’s work.

“People who don’t believe in superheroes haven’t met my patients.”
Cathy Bottrell (E&H ’82)