Dr. Sandy Goldberg, cancer crusader, survivor and founder of A Silver Lining Foundation, joined forces with Presence St. Joseph Hospital, Elgin to provide free mammography to women regardless of ability to pay.
A Silver Lining Foundation, founded in 2002 by Goldberg, NBC Chicago's Health and Nutrition Contributor, partners with area health care institutions to ensure dignified, respectful access to quality cancer diagnosis for area women at no cost. Goldberg had a vision that socio economic status should not affect a women's ability to obtain timely breast cancer screenings and diagnosis. She created the foundation to be certain that the cost of a mammogram does not deter women from getting a screening for breast cancer.
The mission of A Silver Lining Foundation, a 501(c)(3), is to provide access to quality cancer education and services by creating meaningful partnerships with community, advocacy and health care organizations. Initially supported by seed money from PSJH to launch the Elgin area screening and diagnostics program, A Silver Lining Foundation is funded entirely by corporate sponsorships, individual donations and grants.
According to statistics, one in eight women will be diagnosed this year with breast cancer. Access to early detection and treatment are important factors in saving lives from this disease that knows no socioeconomic boundaries.
"As clinicians, we recognize that a mammogram and diagnostic evaluation can make a lifesaving difference for many women, and this partnership will allow us to provide that service to additional women in the Elgin area," said Dr. Patrick Para DO, FAOCR, medical director Diagnostic Imaging and co-director PSJH Breast Health Center,
Mike Brown, regional president and CEO of PSJH concurred, noting that PSJH provides approximately 5,000 screening mammograms annually which give women a head start through early detection at breast cancer treatment. Still, this disease claims 40,000 lives annually (men and women) and impacts spouses, mothers, children, sisters and brothers in its path.
"We embrace any opportunity to enhance patient access to mammography in our Breast Health Center armed with advanced diagnostic technology and compassionate experts. That's the first step toward reducing the number of lives lost," Brown explained.
"We want to spread the word that these services are attainable to anyone in need," says Goldberg. "It is really a lifesaving program and it is too important to wait."
For over 12 years, A Silver Lining Foundation has been ensuring access and treatment options to underserved individuals affected by breast cancer. Now, PSJH is the 10th partner hospital to provide cost free exams, screening mammograms and diagnostic evaluation to uninsured individuals throughout the Chicago area.
"We are delighted to have PSJH join us in efforts to make sure everyone has access to the screening necessary to detect early signs of breast cancer," said Goldberg.
In 2000, the nutritionist and contributor to NBC-5, who lives in the South Loop, began battling breast cancer herself (she is currently cancer-free) and determined that cost should not prohibit women from seeking care. That prompted the founding of ASLF. This year the foundation is on track to serve about 1,200 patients, spending about $300,000 on screening and diagnostic mammograms, ultrasounds, and biopsies.
Since 2010, ASLF has doubled the number of women it screens annually. And the group reaches thousands more through a busy schedule of events, located throughout the city and suburbs, that teach participants how to do self-exams and stress the importance of regular screenings.
Presence St. Joseph Hospital-Elgin is a part of Presence Health, the largest Catholic health care system in the state, providing the full continuum of care. PSJH is recognized for leading-edge technologies and holistic care with compassion for the individual. A comprehensive range of high quality preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic services including acute inpatient care, outpatient care, home health, and educational outreach programs are offered. Advanced care services include a nationally recognized cardiac program, certified primary stroke center, an accredited regional cancer care center, interventional radiology services and a comprehensive rehabilitation center with a CARF-accredited inpatient unit.