Judy Georgantas (left) shown above with her daughter Sue Gulas, is grateful for the excellent care that she, family members and friends have received over the years from their community hospital, Ascension Saint Joseph - Joliet.
Judy Georgantas found a lump in her breast in 1980 and had a radical mastectomy and radiation at Ascension Saint Joseph - Joliet. Four years later, at age 46, the cancer had spread to her lungs. She had surgery to remove part of her lung, followed by chemotherapy at the hospital.
That was only the beginning of Judy’s healthcare journey. She was diagnosed with and treated for colon cancer in 1994, which resulted in yet another surgery to remove part of her colon followed by more chemotherapy and radiation. She suffered a heart attack in 2015. She was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2017. She had a ministroke in 2019.
Over the years, in response to all these illnesses and others, she could have gone anywhere for care. But she kept coming back to the hospital she knew — the hospital where a neighbor once brought her Communion, where her physicians and nurses were her friends, where she saw her husband through brain cancer, and where her daughter today is part of the Foundation Board.
“We always knew people here at Saint Joe’s,” Judy said. “It made everything better.”
A Community Hospital with Advanced Care
Ascension Saint Joseph is not a typical community hospital. It serves one of the largest cities in Illinois. It offers advanced heart, stroke, cancer and emergency care. For its size, scope and sophistication, though, Judy said it also very much continues to focus on serving the Joliet community — a community she loves dearly.
Judy said she always felt like she belonged at “Saint Joe’s.” “I bloomed where I was planted,” she said. “That’s why I was at this hospital. That’s why I’m here.”
Her Catholic faith aligned with the hospital’s Catholic mission. She spent most of her life in Joliet, and she knew many of the people who worked at the hospital through church or through her work as a travel agent, where for decades she helped physicians book their vacations and coordinated an annual international trip for nurses in a graduate program at a local university. These ties kept her close to the community and convinced her that there was nowhere but Ascension Saint Joseph - Joliet that she needed to go for care.
“Getting Care from Friends”
Finding cancer and undergoing treatment, learning the cancer metastasized, and experiencing a heart attack and stroke were all physically traumatic for Judy. Knowing she was being cared for by people she knew made it easier mentally and emotionally.
“I honestly think looking back that I had all the confidence in those doctors,” she said. “In the height of all that cancer, I was getting care from friends. They were always going to take care of me.”
Judy’s loyalty to and faith in Ascension Saint Joseph - Joliet is shared by her daughter, Sue Gulas. When Sue needed surgeries and went through treatment for breast cancer, she too turned to Ascension Saint Joseph - Joliet.
For both women, they needed to be close to their family and friends. They needed to stay in the community they cared so much about. They needed to keep coming back to a place where they knew people — a place that felt like a healthcare home.
“The people here are the community,” Judy said.