The Silver Lining of Kindness: Dr. Sandy Goldberg Brings Humanity to Healthcare

Over the next few weeks, GOOD will be telling select winners’ stories in an effort to elevate kindness and its transformative power. Dr. Sandy Goldberg will use her award money to fund care for the 273 women (and counting) who are waiting in the queue for breast health testing and diagnostics.

Dr. Sandy Goldberg is a force. With a PhD in Clinical Nutrition, she spent much of her career treating patients with nutritional health issues but her path in the medical field did not stop there. This Chicago native saw an opportunity to have an even greater impact on others—and it stemmed from her own experience.

In 2000, just four months before Dr. Sandy got married, she went in for a regular mammogram. In her words, it looked “funky.” “I had a biopsy and they told me everything was okay, but it proved nine months later not to be the case.” Dr. Sandy had breast cancer. With the best medical care available and a strong support system, she went from patient to survivor and her experience propelled her to action.

After attending an American Cancer Society meeting with her oncologist, Dr. Sandy teamed up with them to create a cable show. “I was the host. They would find the guests specialized in the field of cancer, and people would call in for advice. I learned very quickly that people were using our show as their primary care physician. It broke my heart.”

The calls started to take a toll on Dr. Sandy. She would call every caller back to share her personal experience and provide perspective. One night, she started to cry about the work and the callers. “Have you ever had that lightning bolt thing happen?” she asks. “My husband asked me what I wanted to do about it, and in that moment I knew I wanted to start a foundation.”

In 2003, sitting at her kitchen table with her husband and a $2,500 check, A Silver Lining Foundation was born. It now has 24 participating organizations and 15 hospital partners with a potential 16th on the way.

“We started out providing resources and information for people who didn’t know where to go,” she says. Today, A Silver Lining Foundation includes five programs that were built over time based on the needs of the people they were treating. The core program is Buy a Mom a Mammogram. In that program’s first year, 95 screening mammograms were provided to uninsured women. Buy a Mom a Mammogram includes the entire spectrum of breast health—from screening mammograms, to ultrasounds and biopsies. Should anyone come through A Silver Lining and receive a diagnosis, the partner hospital and/or a charity care program will cover all costs for surgery and treatment. In 2016, more than 3,300 women benefitted from the available programs.

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Feeding Kindness: Phyllis Shaughnessy Serves From The Heart

Meet "lunch lady" Phyllis Shaughnessy, who delivers free healthy lunches to the children most in need.

Great-grandmother Phyllis Shaughnessy has enjoyed a storied career in the food business, but she certainly hasn’t taken a traditional path. Earlier in her life, she was a nutritionist with Head Start. Later, she began providing food to people on the streets of Tacoma and even started a USDA lunch program in her now hometown of Copalis Beach. Today, she is simply the “lunch lady,” and spends her days feeding the hungry across the state of Washington.

“I believe that no one should be hungry,” she says, acknowledging that it’s an unfortunate reality. “Some people prefer not to recognize it, but America does have a hunger problem.”

According to the Seattle-based Northwest Harvest organization, one in five kids in Washington state lives in a household that struggles to put food on the table. The state is the 23rd hungriest in the nation, and one in seven Washingtonians relies on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

While Phyllis was at Head Start, she was responsible for educating kids on healthy eating and setting up the program’s menus. “We were so busy educating 4 year olds,” she says, “but we should have started the education process with the mothers so they learned how to prepare nutritious meals at home.”

After spending 11 years relying on the USDA feeding program, she realized too many children were still hungry in their communities, especially once the rules of the grants changed and distribution of the lunches became centralized in a single location. Despite her efforts, Phyllis didn’t feel her work at Head Start was having a big enough impact. Too many children were still hungry. “Kids were falling through the cracks. In rural areas like Copalis Beach, it’s impossible to have children meet at a set destination and be observed while they eat in a 20-minute time frame, which is what the existing programs required.” she explains. Without realizing it, Phyllis was laying the groundwork for a new program that would provide free lunches for kids during the summer. “I set out to find a way to get lunches to the kids at their houses instead of the other way around.” Green Lantern Lunches was soon born, and named after Green Lantern Pub, the Copalis Beach restaurant and first supporter of the program.

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The Healing Powers of a Joyologist: Jodi Rae Ingstad Lights up Lives Through Kindness

"You don’t have to pay for kindness, yet it’s worth a billion dollars if you give it to somebody who needs it." (with The KIND Foundation from @KIND Snacks) #KINDPeople

Google the term joyologist, and you will find a simple, easy-to-digest definition like the following: “a person whose main purpose or job is to bring joy to others.” For Jodi Rae Ingstad, North Dakota-native and KIND People award recipient, it means so much more.

“A joyologist is a person who exudes joy in everything she does, mostly in a nursing home setting,” she says, speaking from her own perspective. Jodi Rae works at the Griggs County Care Center in Cooperstown, North Dakota, where her husband says her kindness has impacted the entire nursing home. For this reason, the administrator officially changed Jodi Rae’s job title to joyologist. “I am the girl who comes to bring happiness and light to the lives of the residents. This is their home and I get to come and brighten every moment. It’s my thing to make everyone happy, every minute of every day.”

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