Gala for Giving event makes dreams of fighting breast cancer a reality for all women

Record-breaking $87,000 demonstrates community commitment

(Stevens Point, WI) – Felicia Van Lysal, Wisconsin Rapids, has two dreams for you. First, to not take anything for granted. Second, to help fund the Angel Fund.

Mrs. Van Lysal, 34, shared her story of her own fight against cancer at the Saint Michael’s Foundation 2013 Gala for Giving on November 2.  Felicia and 137 Gala participants shared in that dream and together they raised over $87,000, an amount unmatched in the eight-year Gala for Giving history. The total far exceeded the original goal of $75,000.

This year’s record-breaking proceeds went to the Angel Fund at Saint Michael’s Foundation. The Angel Fund serves Ministry Saint Michael’s Hospital and Ministry Medical Group patients by providing assistance to those who are without health insurance or are under-insured and unable to afford their annual mammogram and other breast cancer screenings.

After a yearlong remission, Felicia shared that her cancer has returned and now she has added breast cancer advocacy to her fight.

Men and women alike can get breast cancer,” shared Felicia. “We don’t want them to not get tested because they can’t afford it, and this is what the Angel Fund can help make happen. Imagine if it was someone you know, a neighbor, son, daughter, sister, mother, everyone deserves a chance at life.” 

Early screening is one of the key drivers of the Ministry Breast Care Center at Ministry Saint Michael’s Hospital.

“Early screening and detection means better outcomes,” shared Joanne Madigan, Ministry Breast Care Center Coordinator. “Having the Angel Fund available for our patients means making the fight against breast cancer a reality for all women, not just those who can afford care.”

Madigan said the Gala was yet another inspiring showcase of a generous community. “I am always amazed, and often brought to tears, by the kindness of people once they see how they can make a difference for someone,” stated Madigan.  “I can’t put to words just how inspiring Felicia is, she is truly an honor to know. She makes you want to work that much harder to make sure others have a fighting chance.”

The Gala, held at the Stevens Point Country Club, featured live music by Uptown, a gourmet dinner, and live and silent auctions with items donated by local artists, individual supporters, and businesses.

Packages included a vacation destination package with travel vouchers for airfare, hotel and restaurant to the destination of choice; 12 tickets to a 2014 Milwaukee Brewers game including transportation in a customized decked-out private bus (with driver) to and from and gift certificates for a game party; and an exclusive, six-course gourmet meal prepared by Chef Salvatore, of Bistro 212, a classically trained European trained chef.

The generosity did not stop there.  Gala supporters also raised over $1,000 to help purchase comforting plush robes, iPads and iPods for patient use during cancer treatment at Ministry Saint Michael’s Hospital and Ministry Medical Group.

“What is truly remarkable is the number of women that will benefit from the Angel Fund,” noted Angie Heuck Saint Michael’s Foundation Director. We are going to be able to ensure that many women receive their annual mammogram, regardless of their ability to pay. This is the part of philanthropy that is incredibly inspiring to me.”

Presenting sponsors for the 2013 Gala for Giving were BMO Harris Bank, Delta Dental, Ellis Stone Construction Company, Inc, Point Precision, Sentry Insurance, and Skyward.

Since 1989, Saint Michael’s Foundation has supported the health care needs of our community by distributing over $2 million to help improve the lives of our patients and their families. Due to the generosity of donors, Saint Michael’s Foundation’s assets are valued at over $4.35 million.

To hear more from Felicia and others on the Gala for Giving video, please visit

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