COMMITTED TO A CURE:      Meet Team Goldberg

Following his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, the friends and family of Michael Goldberg united to raise over a quarter-million dollars for early detection.

Chicago, IL || February 2017 - - When Sara and Corey Goldberg first decided to field a team in honor of Corey’s father, Michael, for the Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation’s 5K DASH for Detection 2016, the young Deerfield, Illinois couple did their due diligence.  They learned from Rolfe supporters and staff that most DASH squads are made up of around 10 to 20 runners and walkers, and that on average, typical groups aim to raise around $10,000 for early detection pancreatic cancer research. 



Almost immediately, they decided that Team Goldberg would break records.   

“Corey and I are both kind of competitive people,” Sara observes, chuckling wryly. “Normally we confine our zeal to an inner-household Big Ten rivalry (she attended Indiana University, he went to the University of Illinois; they already argue about whose alma mater their infant children should attend), but DASH was obviously an opportunity to channel it into a good cause.”

Sara, Corey and his sister Lindsay led the charge.  They pounded the pavement relentlessly.  They enlisted family and friends, solicited sponsors, and set their sights high.

The response was massive.  By the day of the race, Team Goldberg boasted upwards of 150 members and took in just under $45,000 in support of Rolfe’s mission.  In fact, they were not only the biggest fundraising crew of DASH for Detection 2016, but they were also the biggest single fundraising group in the event’s history.

“It was sensational, seeing all those people there, the response we had,” offers Corey, “but on some level, it’s not surprising if you know my dad.  Sara and my siblings and myself – we did a lot of the organizing, yeah, but he inspired everyone’s passion.”

“It was sensational, seeing all those people there, the response we had but on some level, it’s not surprising if you know my dad.  [...] we did a lot of the organizing, yeah, but he inspired everyone’s passion.” - Corey Goldberg

Corey’s father, Michael Goldberg, has devoted his career to serving the dedicated men and women of local labor unions.  The tenacious son of working-class parents, Michael founded Goldberg Weisman Cairo shortly after graduating from the DePaul University College of Law, and has seen it become Illinois’ largest and most prestigious injury and worker’s compensation law firm.  His career history overflows with accomplishments, as well as significant victories for Labor in Springfield. 

He is a trusted and admired figured in the Illinois Labor and law community, a caring father, and a doting grandfather.  His company biography notes with pride that Corey has followed his dad’s footsteps into law, and now represents the next generation of Labor as an associate at his firm.

“Growing up,” Corey recalls, “when my dad would talk about work, he would always say, ‘It’s great and fulfilling to have a job and make a living - but it’s really great to be of service to others.  For your purpose to be the aid of others.’  That’s how he’s practiced law and it’s how he’s lived his life; being a pillar for other people as they navigate their problems and challenges – that’s always been his passion.”

Following Michael’s diagnoses with pancreatic cancer in November 2015, it was hardly surprising that DASH for Detection became an opportunity for the friends, colleagues and peers he had long supported to demonstrate their appreciation.  But as wonderful as Team Goldberg’s turnout was, raising $45,000 for pancreatic cancer research wasn’t enough for Michael’s supporters in the union halls.  At best, it was a good start.

While Corey and Sara were putting their team together, a separate group of Michael’s colleagues and most stalwart brethren in local Labor began mobilizing their own fundraiser in his honor.  Michael’s partner at GWC, Louis Cairo, helped coordinate the effort, which Sara ensured benefitted the Rolfe mission. 

“It’s about giving back. It’s the example my father set for me. If we have the ability to support him while helping others – well, how can we not?” - Corey Goldberg

The result of Labor’s contribution to Team Goldberg was United for a Cure; a supersized cocktail party attended by 800 guests that featured live music, numerous raffles, and touching tributes to both Michael and another honoree battling pancreatic cancer, Joseph A Borrelli (Mr. Borrelli, sadly, passed away not long after United for a Cure).  It was a tremendous success that raised more than $230,000 making it the largest Community Event ever organized on behalf of the Rolfe Foundation.

“To call the Goldbergs ‘high impact volunteers’ would be the definition of an understatement,” says Rolfe Foundation Executive Director Lynda Robbins.  “Obviously the financial contribution they funneled to our mission is extraordinary.  But beyond the dollar amounts, they’ve introduced our work to a new world of supporters, and the energy, drive, and dedication they bring to the table themselves is just superlative.”

When offered such praise directly, unsurprisingly, the young couple demurs.  “It’s about giving back,” insists Corey.  “It’s the example my father set for me.  If we have the ability to support him while helping others – well, how can we not?”

Michael’s treatment remains ongoing.  He’s responding well to a plan overseen by a team at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas, and, as Corey mentions happily, is feeling well enough to play 18 holes of golf a few times a week.  He was determined to walk as part of Team Goldberg’s inaugural DASH outing last year, and is looking forward to a repeat performance on June 11th, 2017.

Should you wish to find him in the crowd and wish him well, Sara says to look for the grinning grandfather surrounded by a sea of friends and supporters. 


Published: February 10th, 2016.   

                                         Want to be a go-getter like the Goldbergs? You can!
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                                              Rolfe Events, including DASH for Detection 2017.


                           This article also appears as part of the Rolfe Pancreatic Cancer Foundation's
                   electronic newsletter, The Catalyst (Vol. 4, February 2017 - The New Chapter issue).  
                                To read more dispatches from The Catalyst, please click the links below.