May 15, 2005
Birthdate: May 9, 1915
City of residence: Delray Beach
Family: I'm married to Philip Sahl, retired vice mayor of Miami Beach. We have two children, Illana Gealt of Delray Beach and Jack Udell of Jacksonville; seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. I lost two daughters to cancer and I am a cancer survivor.
Former occupation and place: I worked for Northwestern Bell Telephone Co. in Minneapolis, Minn., moved to Miami in 1956 and worked for Southern Bell.
I organized and was president of the Women's Council of Histadrut, and president of the Bal Bay Surf Cancer Research Unit of the Papanicolaou Corps for Cancer Research.
I moved to Delray Beach in 1978 and organized and am now president of the Sonia Mae Gallo Cancer Unit [named after her late daughter] of Papanicolaou Corps for Cancer Research. I've been volunteering for the "We Care" program through the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program for about 20 years.
Original hometown: Minneapolis
How did you celebrate your birthday? I went to dinner and a show with 12 family members at Zella Lehr's Musicana Supper Club in Boca Raton.
What is your favorite memory? My favorite childhood memory is helping my grandfather make dill pickles in barrels to sell to local delicatessens. We rolled the barrels to help mix the ingredients. My favorite lifetime memory is my invitation to visit Golda Meir in her home in Israel, as a reward for my efforts in raising money to help children, hospitals and senior citizens in Israel.
What surprises you most about 2005? I'm surprised to see my great-grandchildren graduate from college.
Cancer Gives Woman Reason For Wanting To Live She Organizes Bus Trips For Mammograms
August 15, 1992|By ROBERTA SANDLER, Special to the Sun-Sentinel
Cancer has dealt a triple blow to 77-year-old Mildred Sahl.
Years ago, it claimed the lives of two of her three daughters, and it recently struck Sahl as well. That`s why the Delray Beach resident is making sure that as many women as possible have access to a mammogram.
``In 1987, I hired a bus and a driver, and I began recruiting women to go for mammograms at the Strax Breast Cancer Detection Institute in Lauderhill,`` Sahl said. ``Too many women neglect themselves or are afraid of mammograms, and they think that breast cancer won`t happen to them.``
But for several of the approximately 600 women who Sahl has taken to Strax, the mammograms revealed malignancies. Although these women underwent mastectomies, Sahl is pleased that they didn`t need chemotherapy or radiation. That`s because the cancers were detected early.
``The women tell me that they owe their lives to me,`` Sahl said. ``One woman told me that if it were not for me, she wouldn`t be here to celebrate her 50th wedding anniversary. I get a lot of satisfaction out of that.``
Sahl selected Strax because of its good reputation, and because it is one of the South Florida breast cancer detection centers accredited by the American Cancer Society. At Strax, a mammogram costs $55.
Five times a year, between October and May, 35 to 40 women at a time will pay $7.50, including the driver`s tip, for the round trip bus ride to Strax. The bus picks the women up at their residences in Kings Point, Huntington Pointe and Huntington Lakes, all near Delray Beach.
``I have to keep a card file and notify them that they`re due for a mammogram,`` Sahl said. ``Strax also notifies them when their year is up.``
By hiring the bus, Sahl says she is making mammography convenient and accessible for those women who don`t drive or who do not have a local doctor. She say the bus service is not only for residents of the three retirement communities, but for other women as well.
``What upsets me is that Medicare says it will pay for a woman`s mammogram once in two years,`` Sahl says. ``I think that`s terrible. Many older women don`t go for the (recommended) yearly mammogram because they wait until Medicare pays for it.``
To illustrate how precarious that can be, Sahl uses herself as an example. She had a mammogram in May 1991. In February, she discovered a lump in her left breast. The next day, she went to Strax, where the malignancy was confirmed.
``If I had just waited for two years after my last mammogram, it would have been too late,`` Sahl said. She was worried, but because she had discovered the lump so early, the cancer hadn`t spread to her lymph nodes, and she needed no radiation or chemotherapy following her mastectomy.
``It`s ironic that I should have had to have a mastectomy after doing all that work for everybody else,`` she said. ``I`ve received great support from my husband, Philip. He`s wonderful. He can`t do enough for me.``
Thirty-two years ago, Sahl`s daughter Mary died at the age of 18 of a rare disease that Sahl believes was cancer-related. It was then that Sahl dedicated herself to helping to find a prevention and cure for cancer. She has won several honors for her relentless fundraising activities.
Ten years ago, her second daughter died from breast cancer at the age of 41, after a devastating five-year battle. That`s when Sahl organized a cancer research chapter of the Papanicolaou Comprehensive Cancer Center Woman`s Corps, and named it the Sonia Mae Gallo Chapter, in her daughter`s honor.
In Florida, there are 23 chapters of the Papanicolaou Comprehensive Cancer Center Woman`s Corps, mostly in South Florida.
``Our institute is affiliated with the University of Miami School of Medicine, Sylvester Cancer center and Jackson Memorial Hospital,`` Sahl said.
In addition to the Sonia Mae Gallo Chapter, where yearly membership dues are $12, Sahl later organized chapters at the Polo Club in Boca Raton, at Huntington Lakes and Huntington Pointe in Delray Beach, and at Westchester in Boynton Beach.
``Our five chapters raised more than $100,000 last year, all of it going solely to cancer research, which is where the cure will be found, hopefully in our lifetime,`` Sahl said.
The Gallo Chapter meets on the third Thursday of each month at American Savings in Delray Beach. At the meetings, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., members listen to guest speakers and decide on fundraising ventures.
Anyone wishing to start a new chapter of the Papanicolaou Comprehensive Cancer Center Woman`s Corps can contact Sahl at 499-8758.