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Giving Back Blog

  • Writer's pictureAscension Illinois Foundation

Partners in Women's Breast Health

Thanks to A Silver Lining Foundation, more than 400 people received free breast health tests at Ascension Saint Joseph – Elgin in fiscal year 2022.

The vision of A Silver Lining Foundation has always been to help everyone access the breast health tests they need.

“You can have the vision,” said A Silver Lining Foundation Founder and CEO Dr. Sandy Goldberg. “You can put in the work. But if you don’t have like-minded individuals and organizations in your corner, it’s all theoretical.”

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, A Silver Lining Foundation has funded over 30,000 free screening mammograms and diagnostic tests to date, and has contributed more than $1 million to Ascension Illinois hospitals to support community members’ breast health testing needs. Dr. Goldberg said she is grateful to work with a strong network of 16 like-minded partner hospitals throughout the greater Chicago area — including three from Ascension Illinois — that are vital to making her and her husband’s vision for A Silver Lining Foundation a reality for individuals in need of breast health testing in the greater Chicagoland area.

“It is a partnership,” said Heidi Lalowski, director of radiology, Ascension Saint Joseph – Elgin. “We are working together to make the world a better place — to make a difference.”

“We're all family”

For Dr. Goldberg, A Silver Lining Foundation is the direct product of her life experience and her desire to make things better for people in need. She was newly married when she was diagnosed with breast cancer 22 years ago.

“I had great insurance, great support. I had my husband, who has a heart of gold. I had the world’s best boss,” she said.

She knew, however, that not everyone facing a cancer diagnosis and treatment had the benefit of those things. She knew that the world is often governed by rules and parameters, including some that make it difficult for everyone to access healthcare. And she remembered the message ingrained in her from her parents, who were immigrants to the U.S.: “We’re all family and we have to help each other through the tough times.”

So, she sat down at her kitchen table with her husband and told him she wanted to do something to help women with their breast health — she wanted to make sure no one for any reason was denied the services they needed. They decided then to start A Silver Lining Foundation. “We just take care of everyone that needs it,” she said.

Breast cancer detected, lives saved

In the past year at Ascension Saint Joseph – Elgin, there have been at least two families whose children would not have mothers today if it were not for A Silver Lining Foundation’s generosity, Lalowski said. Those women had no insurance or ability to pay for breast health testing. However, each of them received a voucher from A Silver Lining Foundation and went to the hospital to have the recommended tests done. Metastatic breast cancer was detected, and the women went on to receive the care and treatment they needed.

“That’s really what it’s all about at the end of the day,” Lalowski said. “That’s why we all work for a Catholic organization. Here it’s about the mission and connecting your beliefs with the work that you do.”

A unifying mission to help others

A Silver Lining Foundation and its 16 partner hospitals share this commitment to serving women and men in need — and to taking care of them from the moment they walk in the hospital doors.

“I want to add my profound gratitude to the Ascension hospitals who so believe in our mission and take care of our ladies and men so beautifully,” said Dr. Goldberg.

In a world that sometimes seems governed by rules and parameters, where things feel increasingly anonymous and impersonal, “there are certain experiences in life that touch people and that are unifiers,” she said.

Cancer is one of them. Another unifier so many people share is a desire to help. Dr. Goldberg — and Ascension Illinois — are mutually grateful for having like-minded partners dedicated to working together to help “take care of everyone that needs it.”



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care to all in Chicago

Share your story

Share your Ascension Illinois story of hope and healing. Please contact:

Emily Dagostino

Director, Communications

Ascension Illinois Foundation


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