Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Oak Park College Student Raises $50,000 to Honor Mom who Died of Breast Cancer

MAYWOOD, Ill. - When Caitlin Garvey was on the Oak Park River Forest High School swim team, her biggest fan was her mother.

Denise Garvey never missed her daughter's meets, even while being treated for breast cancer.

Denise Garvey died two years ago at age 52. On Saturday, July 17, Caitlin will be swimming in her mother's memory at the annual Swim Across America fundraiser at Ohio Street Beach. Caitlin's goal is to raise $10,000, on top of the $40,000 she has raised in four previous swims. The event will benefit the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center at Loyola University Hospital in Maywood, where Denise Garvey was treated.

Caitlin Garvey, 21, is a student at DePaul University. She and three of her former high school teammates will swim 1.5 miles in open water.

Denise Garvey lived with cancer for more than a decade. In 1997, she was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. After chemotherapy, her leukemia was under control. But in September, 2005, she was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, a rare and highly aggressive form of the disease.

Garvey was treated by Dr. Kathy Albain, an oncologist who specializes in breast cancer and lung cancer. Albain has gained a national reputation for groundbreaking research in breast cancer. But many patients say that what they appreciate most is how hard Albain works on their behalf. Albain said Denise Garvey was "one of the bravest patients I have ever known. She fought her very aggressive disease through multiple types of therapies without complaining and with grace. I will never forget her and her smile."

Swim Across America raises money and awareness for cancer research, prevention and treatment through swimming-related events around the country. All funds from the annual Chicago swim go the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, the first free-standing facility in Illinois dedicated to cancer research, diagnosis, treatment and prevention. The center contains all outpatient cancer care, along with extensive research laboratories, offices and educational space.

"They did everything they could for my mom at the Bernardin Center," Caitlin said. "She wasn't about to give up, and they weren't, either."

About 200 swimmers will swim one of four distances: ½- mile, 1 mile, 1.5 miles and 3 miles.

"Our event is the only non-competitive, open-water swim in Chicago's Lake Michigan," said event director Sue Hopkinson. "Participants can challenge themselves -- and their friends -- in the water, but more importantly, we encourage participants to challenge themselves to raise funds for cancer research."

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is part of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. Loyola University Medical Center’s campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of Chicago’s Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. At the heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is a national Catholic health system with an enduring legacy and a steadfast mission to be a transforming and healing presence within the communities we serve. Trinity is committed to being a people-centered health care system that enables better health, better care and lower costs. Trinity Health has 88 hospitals and hundreds of continuing care facilities, home care agencies and outpatient centers in 21 states and 119,000 employees.