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Giving Back Blog

  • Writer's pictureAscension Illinois Foundation

Grateful Patient's COVID Tests Reveal Cancer


Dominic Randazzo, shown above with his wife Brenda, is grateful for the care he received at Ascension Saint Mary - Kankakee.

Last fall Dominic Randazzo’s wife tested positive for COVID-19. A few days after she came out of quarantine, Dominic’s temperature spiked above 100 degrees and wouldn’t come back down. He went to the Emergency Room at Ascension Saint Mary - Kankakee for help.

In the ER, they did several tests and found pneumonia caused by COVID-19 on his lung. They also found a three-centimeter mass on the upper-right lobe of his lung, which a biopsy later revealed was cancerous.

“The good Lord was watching over me and sent me to St. Mary’s Hospital for COVID and ended up finding that we had lung cancer,” Dominic said.

For years, Dominic has been a valuable community partner of Ascension Saint Mary - Kankakee, serving on a team that raised over $1.2 million for the hospital’s Foundation. For all the work he has done to support Ascension Saint Mary - Kankakee, this was the first time he had ever been a patient there. Being in a position of having to put his trust and faith in the caregivers in the ER that day drove home for him what the mission means.

“I wasn’t getting special attention because of who I was,” he said. “I was getting special attention because St. Mary’s does what they do, and I was part of that process.”


Giving Back to the Kankakee Community

Since 1897, when the hospital was founded by the Servants of the Holy Heart of Mary, Ascension Saint Mary - Kankakee has been a pillar of the Kankakee community. Every year more than 5,500 people receive inpatient care there, and there are more than 13,000 ER visits.

“This hospital gives back to this community in so many different ways,” Dominic said. “It’s not about making money. It’s about the care that we give to the patients.”

As a not-for-profit hospital, to continue to fulfill its faith-based mission and provide compassionate care for all who need it, Ascension Saint Mary - Kankakee relies on the community’s philanthropic support. Dominic, who was born and raised in Kankakee County and still lives there with his wife, Brenda, will complete his 23rd year as a Foundation Board and committee member this year. In 2008, he was the hospital’s Servant Leader of the Year. He co-chaired the Foundation’s special events committee for years and has rallied many people to join him in giving back.

The generosity of donors like him has enabled Ascension Saint Mary - Kankakee to provide charity care for uninsured patients, patient transportation, nursing and pharmacy education, and to make numerous capital investments, including in laparoscope equipment, 3D mammography and biopsy, and ER renovations and new equipment.

“They Care About People”

After receiving his cancer diagnosis, Dominic went through treatment, and this October — about a year after his cancer was first found — a CT scan came back showing he is still cancer-free.

Dominic feels grateful that his cancer was found when it was, that treatment was successful and that Ascension Saint Mary - Kankakee was there for him — and is still there for the whole community more than 100 years after it was founded.

“It’s all about being faith-based. Everybody here is working for the community,” he said. “It’s because they care about people. They care about what they do. And they love what they’re doing. And that’s the message I get from throughout the community.”

It’s also the message he got from the care he received as an Ascension Saint Mary - Kankakee patient.

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