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Community invited to tree-lighting ceremony


Media contact: Lisa Parro, senior public relations specialist, Adventist Midwest Health,

Event to kick off breast cancer awareness month

Bolingbrook – The community is invited to a tree-lighting ceremony to commemorate October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The free event will take place at 6 p.m. Sept. 30 in the lobby of Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, 500 Remington Boulevard, Bolingbrook.


Speakers include Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital Chief Executive Officer Rick Mace, Chaplain Vicky Syren, Dr. Jason Goliath, medical director of the breast center, and two local breast cancer survivors. The Bolingbrook High School choir will sing and refreshments will be served.


Members of the community will be able to write a note in memory of a loved one lost to breast cancer, and place the note on a white tree in the hospital’s lobby. Women who get a mammogram during October will receive a commemorative reusable bag.


Breast cancer affects 1 in 8 U.S. women. In 2009, an estimated 192,370 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed in U.S. women, according to

Cancer survivor Laura Merle, of Bolingbrook, hopes she can convince women of the importance of getting regular mammograms. Merle discovered a lump in her breast in mid-June and ignored it for a week. When she checked again and the lump appeared bigger, she went to the breast center at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital.


“I had a mammogram, an ultrasound, and a biopsy all in one afternoon,” Merle said. “I got the diagnosis on July 3 and had my first chemotherapy treatment a few days later. It was like I blinked and it all happened, going from thinking there might be something there to getting treatment.”


Undergoing chemotherapy has not been as traumatic as Merle expected. The 42-year-old single mother of a 12-year-old daughter has continued to work at her job at a doctor’s office. Her doctors tell her she has a 99 percent chance of survival. She credits a solid family support group in helping her cope and stay positive.


“God gave me breast cancer for a reason,” she said. “I’m not sure what it is yet, but he has given me a nudge on the shoulder.”


Chicago resident Vickie Pickens, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in April, is now receiving chemotherapy after undergoing surgery May 3.


“If I tell my story and one woman can take something from it, it will be worth it,” said Pickens, 47.


Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital.  To find a physician, visit