Ascension Illinois Foundation
Early Detection Saves Angie’s Life
Thanks to her commitment and that of her team at Ascension Alexian Brothers and Ascension Saint Alexius, Angie’s cancer was detected and removed early.
Angie had known since she was in her 20s that she was at high risk for breast cancer. Every six months, per her doctor’s orders, she went to Ascension Alexian Brothers to have a screening mammogram and ultrasound. When genetic testing revealed she also was at high risk for ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer and melanoma, MRI was added to her early detection regimen.
“I had full trust in my doctor,” she said. “It’s because of him and his confidence that if anything was to be caught, it was going to be caught early.”
For 11 years and even through COVID-19, Angie continued going every six months for her screenings, and in November 2020 her team spotted a growth that was biopsied and found to be breast cancer. She had a double mastectomy in March 2021 at Ascension Saint Alexius.
“I had my double mastectomy in the heart of COVID-19. That did not affect anyone’s care toward me,” she said. “Nobody was tired or overworked. It was just all about me and my care. For that I’m very grateful.”
Philanthropy enhances cancer care
Every year the gifts of generous Ascension Illinois Foundation partners help improve access to high-quality care for people being screened for cancer and for men and women like Angie in whom cancer is detected.
These donations give hundreds of people who are uninsured or have no way to pay for services access to screening and diagnostic mammograms at Ascension Saint Joseph – Elgin, Ascension Saint Francis and Ascension Holy Family. They provide hundreds of women and men receiving care at Ascension Alexian Brothers and Ascension Saint Alexius with nurse navigators who listen, care and guide patients through treatment journeys. Philanthropy ensures that people have transportation to and from appointments. It gives people access to wigs, prostheses and support services like massage. It provides thousands of free lung cancer screenings. And it helps secure the most advanced technology for early detection and treatment.
For example, Ascension Saint Mary – Kankakee acquired automated breast ultrasound (ABUS)
technology through philanthropy. This technology has helped identify more cancers in women with
dense breasts than mammography alone.
“To me it is about the quality. You want to bring the best technology to the community,” said Kindy
Vaughn, vice president of operations at Ascension Saint Mary – Kankakee. “If this were my mom, if this were my daughter or sister, I would want them to get every measure of detection possible.”
Personalized, compassionate cancer care
Angie has been a patient with Ascension Illinois for nearly 20 years. Thanks to her commitment and that of her entire care team, Angie’s cancer was detected and removed early.
“At every step I have felt like I have been in the right hands," she said. "I am very grateful for that.”