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Abbott Northwestern Hospital

Two generations of women pay it forward


Jackie Overom with her daughter, Heather Ocel, and daughter-in-law, Jenny Overom. Photo by Steve Wewerka

Give now to support the Piper Breast Center

Six years ago, Jackie Overom and her dear friend, Liz Maki, began hosting an annual fundraising gathering they called Dessert in the Garden. Both Overom and Maki had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

When Maki passed away in 2007, Overom was determined to carry on the event . “As long as I can plant flowers in memory of Liz, I will host this event,” said Overom, who gives the funds she collects to Abbott Northwestern's Piper Breast Center.

More than $5,400 was raised at this summer’s event, and each dollar is being matched by a challenge grant from the Piper Family Fund.

Donations support the Piper Breast Center’s expansion and the new Lumagem® molecular breast imaging system — a highly sensitive diagnostic test to help doctors assess lumps not clearly seen on mammograms or ultrasounds.

Jackie became a patient at Piper Breast Center in 2001 and received her diagnosis, treatment and aftercare there.

Today, her daughter-in-law, Jenny Overom, and her daughter, Heather Ocel, have joined her in giving back. They assist with the garden party, and Ocel has launched a new motorcycle ride — the Ride, Rock & Raise — to raise funds for the Piper Breast Center.

“Even small donations make a big difference. We can do so much together to support those who are dealing with breast cancer when we join forces,” Overom said.