July 17, 2008

One Month After her Mother Dies of Breast Cancer, Teenage Daughter Raises $20,000 in Fundraising Swin

Swim Across America Event in Lake Michigan Funds Loyola's Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center

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

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

Denise Garvey of Oak Park died June 8 at age 52. On Saturday, July 19, Caitlin will be swimming in her mom's memory at the annual Swim Across America fundraiser at Ohio Street Beach. Caitlin's goal was to raise $13,000. She already has raised more than $20,000.

The event will benefit the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center at Loyola University Hospital in Maywood, where Denise Garvey was treated.

Caitlin Garvey, 19, recently finished her freshman year at Notre Dame University, where she played water polo. She still swims 3,000 yards (1.7 miles) four days a week. At the Swim Across America event, Caitlin 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 donations have funded a novel drug study Albain and colleagues are doing. The experimental drug potentially could improve cure rates for women in the future. "I am honored her daughter's swimming efforts will bring more funds into our cancer research program," Albain said. Albain is a professor in the division of hematology/oncology, Department of Medicine, at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

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."

Denise also is survived by her husband, Edward, and two other daughters, Meaghan and Sarah. "She always supported us," Caitlin said. "She was always there for us."

Swim Across America is a non-competitive event. At 8 a.m., more than 160 swimmers will begin swimming one of four distances: ½- mile, 1 mile, 1.5 miles and 3 miles. Events in prior years have raised a total of $500,000 for the Bernardin Center. Organizers expect to raise about $200,000 this year.

Other swimmers include Phil Dodson of Wilmette, who has survived four cancers, and Heidi Musser of Chicago, who is blind. Musser will be guided by Swim Across America executive director Janel Jorgensen, a former Olympic swimmer who won a silver medal in 1988.


Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, Loyola University Health System is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus and 22 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus, Loyola University Hospital, is a 570-licensed bed facility. It 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 the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Health & Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 250-bed community hospital, the Gottlieb Health & Fitness Center and the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Care Center.

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 92 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 129,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.