Giving Voice to the Voiceless
Cindy W. Sutton, 2014 Alumni Achievement Award winner, David O. McKay School of Education
While a student at BYU, Cindy Wheeler Sutton (BS '02 MS '04) developed compassion, integrity, and the ability to recognize joy even in the midst of suffering. These traits have been invaluable in her career working with oncology patients and as a wife and mother. After receiving a master’s degree in speech language pathology, Sutton began work at the University of Utah Hospital in the neuro inpatient rehab unit as a speech therapist. Ten years later, she is a therapy supervisor and lead speech language pathologist, overseeing a team of physical, occupational, and speech therapists. She is also a speech therapist for Millcreek Home Health and Hospice.
Sutton was instrumental in the planning, development, and implementation of a comprehensive therapy program at the Huntsman Cancer Hospital. The recipient of a 10 Year Distinguished Service Award from the University of Utah Hospital, she is a regular presenter at national conferences on dysphagia and voice restoration after head and neck cancer.
As a mentor and teacher, Sutton’s influence is widespread. One of her students, for example, was her patient while undergoing intensive cancer treatment. She worked extensively to help him regain the ability to communicate and eat. A year later he came to her office to tell her that he had applied to a speech language pathology program. “What I do doesn’t affect stock prices. It doesn’t affect the global economy,” Sutton says. “But I know each day that I make a difference to a family member or individual who couldn’t talk before.”
She and her husband, Peter, have three children.