12/18/18

Here when you need it, sustaining breast cancer care for generations

With 1 in 8 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.

Champaign’s Jo Anderson, a friend of Linda Mills, and her husband Curt, invested in Mills Breast Cancer Institute 10 years ago 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. Make a year-end contribution online or contact Carle Center for Philanthropy to discuss a major or planned gift. Contributions support the 1,375 women and men currently receiving treatment at Carle.

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 her stage 1 invasive lobular cancer.

Aftersurgeries and six week of radiation, Anderson routinely passes Linda’s photo in the Cancer Center silently whispering, “Thank you.”

She – 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 continues to meet the greatest needs at Mills Breast Cancer Institute.”

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.