By Susan Johnson
Shirley Hood, a wife, mother of six and grandmother from Machesney Park, lost her life to breast cancer in January 1998 at age 57. She had been treated at several different medical facilities. In 2004, her family joined with Beloit Memorial Hospital and SwedishAmerican Hospital to establish the Shirley Hood Memorial Breast Cancer Relief Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity.
A Dinner & Bingo night will be held Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, at the Roscoe VFW, 11385 Second St., Roscoe. Dinner will be served at 6 p.m., bingo begins at 7, and a silent basket auction will be held at 9:15 p.m. Dinner will include: mostaccioli, salad, bread and butter, one bottle of water, and your name will be entered into the door prize drawing, and you get one free bingo card. Additional bingo cards will be sold for $1 each. 50/50 baskets and silent auction items will be available. Any alcohol or soda beverages may be purchased through the VFW. All money raised will be considered a donation for the Shirley Hood Memorial Breast Cancer Relief Foundation. Bingo prizes will be given in gift certificates. This is a non-gambling event.
Regarding donations, the foundation’s mission statement says, “Proceeds will pay for both the mammogram and radiologist fee for those who are uninsured as well as under-insured. Both women and men who would otherwise not be able to pay for this potential lifesaving exam will benefit.
“Our mission and our goal for the Shirley Hood Memorial is to make sure there are funds available for those who are faced with the hard decision and financial hardship of having the exam.”
The Rock River Times spoke with two of Shirley Hood’s daughters, who gave us some background on the foundation. Ann Hood Love said her mother was treated at a few different places, including Zion Medical Center in Zion, Illinois. She had originally been diagnosed at Swedish American Cancer Care Center, and was treated there toward the end of her life.
“My sister, Carleen, started it [the foundation] due to a breast cancer walk she went on in Chicago. We jumped on board in my mother’s memory. She [Carleen] asked the other sisters to go, but I personally couldn’t due to other obligations, but I decided this is what I wanted to do. We’re a local family out of Machesney Park. We were raised in what was then North Park.”
About the benefit, she said, “It’s going to be a fun activity. We do various activities throughout the year. We have a bike run called ‘Motoring for Mammies’ in August. In November, we just had ‘Nerd Night,’ where we team up like ‘Revenge of the Nerds.’ There was such a good time. We have had very good response, and we’re very passionate about this organization. It is dear to our hearts. We have had many donations.”
Her sister, Carleen Hood Haseman, gave us a few details about the walk that started it all. “It was back in 2003,” she said. “It was the Susan G. Komen Walk for Breast Cancer. Myself and a friend and my sister-in-law walked because we thought it would be nice to do something closer to home.” [She lives in Shopiere, Wisconsin, outside Beloit.] “It was a great experience. Even though my family, my mom and I were from Machesney Park, I lived in Beloit. I wanted to do something for the people where I lived. Our first couple years, we did a shotgun trap shoot for the Izaak Walton League. That was when we started the Shirley Hood Foundation. The recipient was Beloit Memorial Hospital. I’m the one that started it with my sister-in-law and a friend, and I wanted to keep everything local around where we lived — dedicated to my mom, and years later, my two sisters and a brother got on board, and we opened a memorial at SwedishAmerican; that’s where our family always went. The connection with Beloit Memorial was where I originally started. Beloit Memorial received the first check in 2004, and SwedishAmerican a couple years later. Now the people involved are our family and friends — nieces, nephews, grandchildren of Shirley Hood. We expanded it to include northern Illinois, SwedishAmerican and all of their clients.
“Last year we did our first motorcycle rally, which will be a yearly rally. And we try to keep all the fund-raising local. The first year, 2003, we did give the money to Susan G. Komen, and in 2004, we contacted Susan G. Komen, and that’s when we learned that not any of the money stayed in the local area.”
As for the funds distributed, she said, “It’s not just for mammograms. We pay for mammograms and radiologists’ fees, and anything else they need for SwedishAmerican or Beloit Memorial Hospital, or if they need help for rent or utilities. We have Shirley Hood Memorial Foundation on Facebook, and we also have a g-mail account, ShirleyHoodMemorials@gmail.com. That way, people can contact us if they have a need, and we contact them back. We are nonprofit. We have monthly board meetings.”
From the Jan. 14-20, 2015, issue