Inside Giving Winter 2019
Here When You Need It
Sustaining breast cancer care for generations to come
With one in eight women affected by breast cancer, “everyone has a Linda” (Mills) – maybe your mom, sister, daughter, friend, neighbor, even you. But not all women have a Carle.
Jo Anderson was a friend of Linda Mills. Ten years ago, together with her husband Curt, Anderson invested in Mills Breast Cancer Institute to honor her mother and mother-in-law, who both faced cancer. While she had passion for this project then, she had no idea she’d soon find herself needing this helpful resource.
Anderson answered a life-saving phone call three years ago, informing her a mammogram uncovered something serious. “No one is immune. We’re all one test result or phone call away from needing these resources,” Anderson said.
Thanks to a group of founding contributors, including the Andersons, the Linda Morrison Mills Endowment will provide critical support for the greatest needs at Mills Breast Cancer Institute – a fitting tribute to the visionary who made the world-class facility what it is today.
Following the dreaded call, Anderson entered Mills Breast Cancer Institute the same day, edgy, antsy and scared, but met a determined care team with her best interest in mind.
“God bless my X-ray technician that day. She was determined to find the right spot,” Anderson said.
Armed with a “million questions,” she received another mammogram, sonogram and a biopsy. Her doctors and nurses at Carle put a plan in place to battle stage 1 invasive lobular cancer.
After surgeries and six weeks of radiation, Anderson routinely passes Linda’s photo in the Cancer Center silently whispering, “Thank you.”
The Andersons – and other generous donors – recently answered another call from Carle – one of hope.
“I’m continually inspired by the community’s commitment to supporting patients,” said Beth Katsinas, vice president, Carle Center for Philanthropy. “Through the establishment of the Linda Morrison Mills Endowment, even more support will continue to meet the greatest needs at Mills Breast Cancer Institute.”
The Linda Morrison Mills Endowment was created through a collection of gifts with a goal to build the endowment to $1 million. The Mills Endowment will provide critical support of the greatest needs at Mills Breast Cancer Institute and a self-renewing legacy honoring Linda Mills in perpetuity. In alignment with Carle’s mission, funds may support a variety of needs, including clinical programs, patient/family experience, medical education and equipment and facilities.
Linda was known for getting things done and having fun doing it. This philosophy translates to the care patients receive, according to Anderson.
“I have a tremendous team – Dr. (Anna) Higham, Dr. (Natasha) Luckey, Dr. (Sinisa) Stanic and Dr. (Kendrith) Rowland. They are personable and approachable,” Anderson said. “Everyone makes the experience as good as it can be under the circumstances.”
Thanks to continued support and ongoing research, the future for women – and men – battling breast cancer is bright here in central Illinois. “I hope through research – it means a cure for all,” Anderson said.
You're invited to be a part of Linda’s legacy by making a contribution to the Linda Morrison Mills Endowment. Please join us and ensure the future is full of hope and health for generations to come.
A Hearty Night Out
To look at him, you wouldn’t know David Swartzendruber has survived four heart attacks, two stents and an operation that included seven bypasses. “I think I hold the record for Carle,” he says with a smile, reflecting on the operation that first saved his life nearly 20 years ago. Today, he and his wife Judy are both trim and active. In fact, thanks in part to their heart-healthy diet, most Fridays you’ll see them visiting others from their congregation who turn to Carle for care. To help make sure things stay that way, they attended a free cardiac health fair in November, with health experts, free break-out seminars and a delicious, heart-healthy dinner.
“The meal was great,” says Judy, who enjoyed the food as well as the preparation demonstration that preceded it. Also high on their “thumbs up” list was a seminar on heart medications. “It went through all the drugs that a heart patient could take,” says Judy. David takes several, so the topic was especially useful for them. Led by two pharmacists, the seminar covered the benefits and potential interactions of each drug and featured a visual display that highlighted the part of the circulatory system that each affected.
Other favorite moments included a panel discussion with eight different specialists and a seminar on end-of-life preparation that covered topics like living wills. “That was pretty helpful,” says David, who says the event served as a reminder to take care of important legal matters that are easy to put off.
It wasn’t all talk, however. In addition to the helpful seminars, the event included vendors with various things participants could try. Judy picked up something else to spice up their heart-healthy meals. “Because of all the spices you need to use in chili, they created this mix that would leave out salt.” They haven’t tried it yet, but look forward to giving it a test run this winter.
Both David and Judy gleaned a lot from the event, which was made possible through generous gifts to Carle Center for Philanthropy. “If you’re going through heart issues, it’s to your benefit to get all the information you can,” says David. “I think that’s a big thing right there, just to take opportunities to make yourself aware of what’s good, what’s not so good and educate yourself how to live so that you have a better life.”
More Than Words
As the supervisory RN for Pediatric Specialties, Mary Beth Henry knows the stress that families feel every time they walk into a waiting room. “They’re seeing a specialist, so there’s something maybe a little more concerning to the parents when they come here, and they’re worried about what they’re going to hear.” Fortunately, it doesn’t take a lot to change that. At least not for kids.
Any parent who’s attempted to walk past a toy aisle with a child knows the distractive power of play. That’s why proceeds from The Core’s INSYNC lip-syncing event were recently used to create a dedicated play area in the department’s waiting area that’s designed to put young patients at ease. The Core is a group of young professionals who serve as advocates for Carle in our community and raise money in support of projects that benefit women’s and children’s services at Carle. And Mary Beth couldn’t be happier with the results of their latest effort.
“The kids’ corner is awesome because our patients are here for extended periods of time,” explains Mary Beth. “Our shortest appointment would be approximately 20 minutes up to an hour. Some patients are here for multiple hours.” The kids’ corner helps reduce the anxiety that comes with that wait, with fun features like a table that allows kids to control magnetic fish and seascapes and cool puzzle challenges on the wall. “One of them is a spinning wheel that makes noise and colors kind of a kaleidoscope type thing. Another is almost like a Rubik’s cube,” explains Mary Beth, who says that even teenagers are captivated by the interactive displays.
Unlike regular toys, these displays can easily be cleaned, making them a welcome addition in an environment that can feel far removed from the comforts of home. “It takes the sterilization of a doctor’s office away,” says Mary Beth. It also reduces the anxiety level of young patients and their parents, which makes for a better visit. “Doing things like this makes the testing and the other things possible because it shows kids that it’s OK to come to the doctor.”
With the success of the first corner, more will soon be created throughout the Carle health system, thanks to funds provided by last year’s INSYNC event. If you’d like to be involved with next year’s fundraiser, mark your calendar now.
Join us for INSYNC 2019 on Saturday, April 13, at The City Center in Champaign. Proceeds benefit Women’s and Children’s Services at Carle. To become a sponsor, buy tickets or register an act, visit carle.org/insync or text INSYNC to 71777.
Sowing the Seeds of Philanthropy
“We’d been giving to the Carle Foundation for some time,” explains Chip, a regional president at Busey Bank, whose work had often brought him in contact with a lot of great non-profit organizations. At some point, he and his wife Jennifer had read about the Women’s Legacy Circle, and she was intrigued. So last year, as a Mother’s Day gift, he skipped the traditional gift line and gave her the gift of a membership.
The Circle is frequently compared to a traditional women’s investment club, only instead of buying stocks, the Women’s Legacy Circle invests in lives, funding Carle projects that benefit countless patients. Because those seeking grants present their proposals and every member gets a vote, it’s much more personal than simply writing a check. And because members only meet a few times a year, there’s not a substantial time commitment, which made it a perfect gift for Jennifer, who has two children and a full-time job.
“It was very inventive,” says Jennifer, adding “I appreciated it more than any kind of little wrapped gift he could have given me.” And she’s enjoyed it a lot so far. Her favorite part was listening to the proposal presentations that come from every corner of Carle. “Some of them were amazing,” says Jennifer, who hopes that other women will join so that more projects can be funded. It only takes $500 to join, and that donation is multiplied with every membership, creating a powerful force for change. In 2010, the Circle awarded just over $35,000 in grants. In 2018, that amount more than doubled. And, so far, it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
By gifting a membership, you can be part of that momentum, making a gift that's impacting countless patients and their families. “I think as a dad or a husband, we struggle to find gifts that are meaningful and something that we can do with our kids, and I know the kids were just as excited to give it to Jen as I was,” says Chip. “They don’t fully understand it, obviously, but they certainly understand that we’re helping other people.” And that’s a gift both of the Jorstads hope their children will one day carry forward, making philanthropy an important part of their lives.
Every Hero Needs a CAPE
“Medicine is changing all the time, and – as a nurse – I owe it to my patients to be my best,” says Stacy Nicholson, a nurse in our Danville clinic who was already taking classes towards her degree when she heard about CAPE and decided to apply. Short for Carle Advancing Professional Excellence, the CAPE Nursing Scholarship offers $1,000 in tuition assistance to Carle nurses pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN). It can be a big help for nurses facing high tuition fees, and – unlike loans and other forms of assistance – it doesn’t have to be paid back.
For Nicholson, it was more than a financial blessing; it was motivation to excel. “It was very humbling that people were going to invest in someone that they may never meet because they believed in me and what I do,” says Nicholson, adding that the gift also inspired her to work harder. “I was not going to go down with anything less than an A,” she laughs.
While completing the program can be a challenge, the rewards are worth it. Nurses with a BSN have the potential to earn more and advance further in their career over time. And they’re not the only ones who benefit. Studies show that patients experience better outcomes when care is provided by a nurse with a bachelor’s degree, which is why we’re committed to making sure that 80 percent of our nurses have a BSN by 2020.
To help make that happen, funds from the VISION 2020 campaign have been set aside for CAPE Nursing Scholarships and other programs that support professional development. Five CAPE scholarships were awarded in 2018. According to Nicholson, these gifts are already making a difference. “When everybody does a little bit, we can see big change happen, and that’s what I see happening with donors,” says Stacy. “They are making big, life-changing impacts on people like me and others who benefit from their generosity.”
For nurses who may be considering the scholarship, she has this simple piece of advice – go for it. “The worst they can say is ‘no,’” says Nicholson, adding there’s nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain. “I gained the scholarship to help me with my tuition to continue with my dream.”