It was 13 years ago that Dr. Sandy Goldberg’s life changed forever. Diagnosed with breast cancer, she was one of the lucky few who had workplace-based insurance that made the process of finding a doctor and getting proper treatment that much easier. But through her job she was able to see how rare it is to have access to quality, affordable healthcare. That revelation was unsettling.
“Because of my work at NBC, I had great insurance and I ended up creating a little television cable show and people would call in and ask about cancer,” Goldberg said. “I discovered how fortunate I was. People were treating us on the show as their primary care providers. I made suggestions from this safe little bubble I had and most people don’t have that. I went home one night and my husband asked how my day was and I just started crying. I told him how I felt for these people who didn’t have access and he asked what I was going to do about it and right there at the kitchen table, with one check for $2,500, we started our work.”
From that initial epiphany the A Silver Lining Foundation was born. Founded in 2002, its mission is to “ensure dignified, respectful and equal access to quality cancer and education services for all.” Goldberg, though, sees their philosophy as something even simpler.
“ASLF is based on my late mother’s teaching,” she said. “She always said we are all family, and we all have to help each other.”
The Chicago Wolves started helping the foundation after Goldberg sent in a donation request four years ago and was put in touch with Senior Vice President of Operations Courtney Mahoney. From there, ASLF became the Wolves partner charity for breast cancer awareness nights, where player-signed merchandise and pink sticks are sold to support ASLF’s Buy A Mom A Mammogram. The program gives men and women who are underinsured or uninsured access to cost-free screenings and follow-up testing.
On Saturday, Oct. 26, when the Grand Rapids Griffins visit the Wolves, ASLF is partnering with the team once again to try and help even more men and women in need of access to proper health care. Each Wolves player will autograph the pink stick he uses during warmups, and they will be available to fans for a $150 donation (the cost of a mammogram), with the Heidenhain Corporation matching each amount. Stick It To Breast Cancer T-shirts and autographed pucks will also be available for purchase.
“We have tremendous fans who are extremely supportive of the charitable programs the Wolves do,” said Mahoney. “Having that target amount of $150 is great because then our fans know exactly where that money is going and who they are helping. Last year, Dr. Sandy called and said they were able to buy mammograms for 80 women with our donations. That’s a great call to get, and it wouldn’t be possible without the supportive community we have around this hockey team
Goldberg, who will be dropping the puck at Saturday’s game for the second time, couldn’t agree more. She relishes the opportunity to come out and meet others who have been affected by cancer, and to see how the work ASLF does with the Wolves benefits those who would otherwise go without.
“As the founder, I know that by providing access to testing, cost-free, for individuals who otherwise would not be able to get it is vital,” she said. “What we do is whatever it takes to let people know they don’t have to be afraid and don’t have to be alone and there is a circle of access and care.
“This is my baby. And we couldn’t do what we do without committed organizations like the Wolves who help us.”