Crouse Receives $800,000 from Saint Agatha Foundation, JMA Wireless

Donation to support life-saving next-generation 3D mammography technology
$800,000 Donation to Crouse: From left are John Mezzalingua, CEO, JMA Wireless; Kathleen Mezzalingua, board chairwoman of the Saint Agatha Foundation; physician Stephen Montgomery, former medical director for breast health services at Crouse Health; physician Seth Kronenberg, president and CEO of Crouse Health.

Crouse Health Foundation, the fundraising arm of Crouse Hospital, is acquiring two next-generation digital tomosynthesis machines — known as 3D mammography — that improve early breast cancer detection and save lives, thanks to a donation from Saint Agatha Foundation and JMA Wireless.

The foundation provided $406,000 to purchase a new digital tomosynthesis unit for the Hadley J. Falk Breast Health Center at Crouse Hospital, replacing an older version of the technology that was also funded through Saint Agatha support.

A second 3D unit, purchased through a Saint Agatha Foundation grant and a matching grant from JMA Wireless, is also in operation. The addition of both machines coincided with breast cancer awareness month.

“These machines are a testament to the legacy of my sister, Laurie, who was a tireless advocate for breast cancer awareness and founded Saint Agatha during her own battle with the disease,” said JMA Wireless CEO John Mezzalingua. “Laurie’s message to our family was clear: Early detection saves lives. We have taken her words to heart and are continuing her fight on behalf of breast cancer patients. We are proud to be able to carry on Laurie’s important work by investing in the most high-tech 3D mammography machines available to make early detection possible for more Central New Yorkers.”

Amid her own battle with breast cancer, Laurie Mezzalingua founded the Saint Agatha Foundation in 2004 to provide financial assistance to individuals fighting the disease in Central New York. The foundation provides support, comfort, and care to uninsured and underinsured breast cancer patients in Onondaga, Cortland, Cayuga, Madison, Oneida, Oswego and Jefferson counties. Led by Laurie’s mother, Kathleen Mezzalingua, since Laurie’s death in 2009, the foundation has provided more than $17 million to 10,032 men and women.

“Saint Agatha Foundation is proud to assist Crouse Hospital with the purchase of new tomosynthesis technology, providing the most advanced screening available and aiding in the earliest detection possible for those who may have breast cancer,” said Kathleen Mezzalingua, the foundation board’s chairwoman. “Earlier detection means better outcomes for treatment and that is our hope. My daughter Laurie was always appreciative of the care provided by Dr. Stephen Montgomery and team following her surgery and treatment at Crouse Hospital during her battle with breast cancer.”

Using funds provided by the Saint Agatha Foundation, the Hadley J. Falk Breast Health Center was the first facility in CNY to offer mammography using digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT). This technology uses X-rays to create 3D images of the inside of the breast, producing the highest resolution results available and making it easier for radiologists to spot small abnormalities – including those difficult to detect dense breast tissue — while using the lowest possible dose of radiation.

“We are enormously grateful to the Saint Agatha Foundation and JMA Wireless for their generous and ongoing support of Crouse’s breast health program,” said physician Stephen Montgomery, director emeritus of Hadley J. Falk Breast Health Center Crouse Hospital.  “The new tomosynthesis units will make it possible to continue to provide our patients with the highest level of care while providing the most advanced imaging technology available.”