Holland Artist Survives Breast Cancer

Breast Cancer Survivor Carolyn Stich

Giving Back to the Holland Hospital Breast Care Fund

“You have breast cancer.”

Four simple words with a very complex meaning; a sentence that would change your life. These are the words Carolyn Stich heard on January 10, 2018.

“I went in to get a routine mammogram, knowing I had had a lump in my right breast for a while, but trying to ignore it,” Stich said. “During that appointment, I mentioned I felt a lump. Everything changed after that. The Comprehensive Breast Services team quickly assessed my lump, I immediately had an ultrasound and a biopsy done, which confirmed my suspicions,” she added.

Stich, who is a successful and well-known artist from Holland, MI, underwent a lumpectomy, followed by chemotherapy and radiation, all under Holland Hospital’s care. She is now recovering.

“I received the best and the most compassionate care that day and I instantly thought of the many women who were dealing with feeling a lump at home but did not have the same great health insurance I have. Do they ignore the lump because of fear of expenses? I’m sure many do, putting other family needs ahead of their own health,” she said.

During her treatment, Stich was introduced to the Holland Hospital Breast Care Fund.

“Detecting breast cancer at its earliest stage greatly increases survival rates. This fund helps cover the cost of mammograms, diagnostic imaging and pathology services for patients with little to no insurance,” said Dr. Susan Ervine, Radiologist and Holland Hospital Comprehensive Breast Services Medical Director.

Through private donations and grants, the Breast Care Fund helps remove the financial barriers that deter women from seeking necessary and important breast care services.

“Breast cancer is not a death sentence as long as it is taken care of quickly and properly. I am concerned for those uninsured women and wonder if they even know about the available services,” Stich said.

Stich is now making it her mission to share information about the Breast Care Fund with women across West Michigan and raising monetary donations for the fund through her artwork.

“She began raising money for the Breast Care Fund while still undergoing treatment herself, which is truly remarkable and demonstrates her dedication to women in her community. She is such a positive person which has served her well throughout her journey, and we are so fortunate to have her as an advocate. Her work will help us to connect the funds with those who need them,” said Dr. Ervine.

Since it was established in 2014, the Breast Care Fund has allowed 189 women to receive screening mammograms, 129 women receive diagnostic mammograms and it has provided 175 follow-up services. For more information about the Holland Hospital Breast Care Fund page.