Two decades ago Beverly Area friends and neighbors organized a walk to help support breast cancer patients and the services needed to treat them. Today, their hard work is showcased not only by the state-of-the-art diagnostic technology found at Little Company of Mary Hospital (LCMH), but also a crisis fund that was developed to help women affected by breast cancer. The fund was created in response to a need identified by the committee of the Beverly Breast Cancer Walk (BBCW) to support LCMH patients who have emergent financial needs within our community. To date, the BBCW Crisis Fund has helped nearly 50 women and counting.
“The breast cancer patient navigation team really takes the helm in determining which patients could be in need of financial assistance – and the BBCW Crisis Fund is there to assist with a personalized approach,” said Brian Lepacek, Executive Director of the LCMH Foundation. “At times, patients can feel forced to choose between their health and their everyday living expenses, and having to make that choice only causes more stress during the healing process. Recipients of crisis funding have seen the fund as a true gift – a path to wholeness when all other routes seemed very bleak and desperate. While it is not always easy to ask for assistance, every effort is made to inform patients that help is there if they truly need it.”
Pamela Boza, 56, is a recipient of funds from the BBCW crisis fund. On November 15, 2017, Boza was diagnosed with breast cancer following her mammogram earlier that month. At the time Boza met with LCMH’s fellowship-trained breast surgeon, Dr. Jilma Patrick, she was mentally prepared to take on the fight of her life, but she was concerned with how she would be able to afford treatment. –
With generous community support, the BBCW crisis fund supported Boza with bill payments, gift cards and more during her six rounds of chemotherapy followed by a lumpectomy and sentinel lymph node biopsy in June of 2018 and 21 rounds of radiation therapy.
“I was so grateful to have this huge weight lifted off my shoulders,” said Boza. “I knew during my entire breast cancer journey that my Little Company of Mary family was only a phone call away – my entire care team at Little Company of Mary along with the generosity of the BBCW crisis fund are what got me to where I am today. They helped me to make lemonade out of lemons and I look forward to having some much needed ‘me-time’ this year – which will include camping and lots of crocheting!”
In addition to her “me-time,” Boza plans to spend her time this year with her large Southside family, including her husband, her parents, three sisters, two children and two grandchildren. She looks forward to participating in the 20th annual BBCW in May.
The 20th Annual Beverly Breast Cancer Walk will take place on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 12, 2019. The walk starts at 8:00 a.m. at Ridge Park located on 96th and Longwood, Chicago, Illinois. Register early to receive a t-shirt with your $30 entry fee. The entry fee for children ages 18 and under is $15. Same-day registration is $10 more for adults and $5 more for children 18 and under. T-shirt availability is not guaranteed for day-of registrants. To register, go to www.BeverlyBreastCancerWalk.org today.