Cheer on Team Phoenix as they cross the finish line

Come cheer on Team Phoenix athletes as they cross the finish line at the Tri-ing for Children’s Triathlon in Dousman, Wis. on July 27, 2014. These 18 breast cancer survivors have trained for this sprint triathlon – 1/4-mile swim, 15-mile bike and 3.1 mile run – for the last 14 weeks. Team Phoenix athletes have proved that their experiences with cancer have left them strong and willing to take on the challenge of completing a triathlon.

“Cancer transformed my body into something I didn’t recognize anymore. I had mobility issues and gained weight. I didn’t think that I could complete a triathlon, but I can and I’ll be doing it this weekend,” said Melissa, 2014 Team Phoenix

“Cancer transformed my body into something I didn’t recognize anymore. I had mobility issues and gained weight. I didn’t think that I could complete a triathlon, but I can and I’ll be doing it this weekend,” said Melissa, 2014 Team Phoenix

Under the training and care of health and fitness experts led by Aurora Health Care breast cancer surgeon, Judy Tjoe, MD, and cancer rehab physical therapist, Leslie Waltke, PT, the athletes have increased their mobility, strength and bonded over similar experiences.

The Team Phoenix program gives women an opportunity to reclaim their lives – to stop thinking of themselves as cancer patients and to begin reconnecting with who they were before their diagnosis. Learning that they have the physical and mental strength to complete a triathlon – an activity many of them never thought possible – is empowering beyond words.

Special thank you to the generous donors who support the Team Phoenix program. Your gifts help to provide training and necessary equipment. The support received makes a big difference for these brave, strong and determined women.

Volunteers are needed for the Tri-ing for Children’s on July 27 at Ottawa Lake State Park. To volunteer, click here and when asked to choose a group/charity affiliation, select “Team Phoenix.” Team Phoenix will receive a portion of the dollars raised for every volunteer who registers on behalf of the team.

Team Phoenix Cake

Good luck and congratulations to this inspiring group of women as they swim, bike and run their way to the finish line this weekend!

To make a gift in honor of a Team Phoenix athlete or to support the Team Phoenix program click here.

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4 miracles celebrate their first birthday

Melissa and her husband.

Melissa and her husband, Bill.

Having never given birth before and with her husband 1.5 hours away at work, Melissa was terrified as she was wheeled into the operating room for a C-section. The three physician residents did everything they could to explain exactly what was happening during the birth process and make Melissa feel comfortable and safe. “They were incredibly smart and talked to me like a person so I understood what was happening. One resident even hugged me and said that everything would be okay,” said Melissa.

Within a matter of minutes on April 17, 2013 – 5:32, 5:33, 5:34, 5:35 p.m. – Melissa became a proud mother of healthy quadruplets born at Aurora Sinai Medical Center. She was now the mother of two boys – Luca (3 pounds 8 ounces) and Tate (2 pounds 15 ounces) and two girls – Kenzie (3 pounds 11 ounces) and Taylor (2 pounds 9 ounces).

photo 3Due to the babies coming eight weeks early they were required to stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) until they could gain weight and learn how to eat and breath at the same time. During their time in the NICU, Melissa and her husband learned lot about the care of preemies.

And then after five weeks, the day finally came when Melissa could bring the babies home.  “I was so happy and thrilled that my babies would finally be coming home, but I was also scared. I was not only a first time mom, but a first time mom to quadruplets, and a first time mom to preemies. Our doctor also wanted to monitor the babies’ heartbeat and breathing so we were coming home with apnea monitors – so that was another concern,” said Melissa.

“The first day I was home I got a call from the Aurora Visiting Nurse Association. They told me they would be sending a nurse to come out twice a week to check on the babies. I literally hung up the phone and jumped for joy. What a relief to know that I would be getting that help again.”

The nurse who would be helping with the quadruplets was Ingrid. Melissa recalled, “She was kind, smart and loved her job. She would come in and immediately reassure me, telling me how the babies look great and how good they were doing. As a first time mom, I was stressed trying to make sure that I was doing everything right. It was a great feeling to have that reassurance from Ingrid.”

photo 1

Melissa holding all four of her babies: Luca, Tate, Kenzie and Taylor.

“Ingrid would examine the babies and then take time to allow me to ask questions. I remember asking the strangest questions. Ingrid was always so calm and so patient with me. She was also observant. One day, Ingrid noticed that the babies were fussy. She said that wasn’t normal so we quickly went to their doctor and discovered they were suffering from reflux.” After being diagnosed with reflux, Melissa modified her diet and tried a new baby formula.

Melissa remembers being both happy and sad when she learned that her babies no longer needed the Aurora Visiting Nurse Association. Melissa said, “Even though we only needed the Aurora Visiting Nurse Association for a month, it seemed like we had known our nurse for years. It is more than just a nurse who shows up at your house for an hour. It’s so much more for the parents, it’s their life line.”

Now, the one-year-old quadruplets are healthy and growing. They are right on target with other children their age.

Now, the one-year-old quadruplets are healthy and growing. They are right on target with other children their age.

Every patient deserves the best care. Your online gift to the Aurora Visting Nurse Association extends our reach to even more patients in need this year. You can also visit our registry of needed items for the NICU at Aurora Sinai. Every gift can change a life!

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Zilber hospice is July charity of the month at Gilles

conekids-colorWe are excited to share that the Aurora Visiting Nurse Association Zilber Family Hospice has been chosen as Gilles Frozen Custard charity of the month for July.

Zilber hospice provides compassionate care to individuals and their families during the end-of-life journey. The donations that we receive from community support ensures that everyone is entitled to high-quality care and comfort, regardless of their financial means.

Thank you to Gilles for selecting Zilber hospice and thank you to all of the generous customers who have already made a donation while enjoying their favorite sandwich or dessert.

Gilles is located at 7515 West Blue Mound Road.

To make a gift visit or contact Judi Strout at 414.615.5935 or

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What’s the “State” of your affairs?

When people are asked this question, they often think about how current their present plans are. What they should think about is what state they live in. Or in the case of those who have residences in multiple states, which one governs the outcome of their estate plan.
If you are a “snow bird” and have a home in Wisconsin and Florida, which state will determine the distribution of your estate? Living in multiple states can complicate matters when it comes to estate planning and elder law.

Where is your legal residence? You may think this is determined by where you spend the most time. Consider the following in making that determination.

Where are you?

  • Registered to vote?
  • Licensed to drive?
  • Addressed for tax documentation?

Once you’ve determined your state of legal residence, make sure your estate documents are executed in that state. This is extremely important when it comes to transferring property or if you become incapacitated.

Also make sure that your living will and power of attorney for health care is valid in both states. In addition, if you spend a great deal of time away from “home” then make sure you select a neighbor or close friend in that state to assist in getting you to the hospital in an emergency.

So, what is the “state” of your affairs? If you’ve recently moved to another state or acquired property there, it’s time to update your estate plan. Or if you’ve lived for years in another state and only have a simple will, it’s time for you to update your plan as well.

For a confidential and personalized legacy plan review contact Stephen Davis, director of gift planning for Aurora Health Care Foundation at 414-219-4751 or

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Hospital launches “Project Lifesaver: Neighbors Helping Neighbors” in Walworth County

14168559311_32341bc064_oCardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, saves lives. First responders are certified to provide effective CPR in case of emergency.

The American Heart Association recommends a compression/ventilation ratio of 30:2 with a compression rate of at least 100/minute. They further recommend interruptions of chest compressions be kept to a minimum and last no longer than 10 seconds. “Even under the best of conditions, those providing CPR become fatigued and the quality of chest compressions begins to decrease rather quickly,” said David Fladten, emergency medical services coordinator at Aurora Lakeland Medical Center.

The physicians and leaders at Aurora Lakeland Medical Center know that in an emergency, when every second counts, it is important to have the best tools available. That is why they are working with the community to raise funds to outfit 16 Walworth County emergency medical providers with AutoPulse units through an initiative called “Project Lifesaver: Neighbors Helping Neighbors.” The devices constrict the entire chest instead of compressing it as a person would, improving blood flow for patients experiencing cardiac arrest.

Aurora Health Care Foundation and the Medical Staff of Aurora Lakeland Medical Center raised $141,000 at the 29th Annual Benefit Ball to help fund this initiative.

You can still support this project and help bring AutoPulse units to Walworth County. For more information, or to make a donation, please contact Michelle Weber at or call 262-741-2382.

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Marquette University recognizes Aurora Behavioral Health Services

(L-R) William Henk, Ed. D., Dean and Professor, College of Education and Jay J. Chrostowski, PsyD, ABPP

(L-R) William Henk, Ed. D., Dean and Professor, College of Education and Jay J. Chrostowski, PsyD, ABPP

Congratulations to Aurora Behavioral Health Services for receiving the Human Services/Foundation Partner Award from the Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology (CECP) Department at Marquette University. This award recognizes collaborative community partners that share the resources, rewards, and risks associated with serving the community and advancing the field of education and mental health.

Dr. Jay Chrostowski, director of behavioral health therapy at Aurora, accepted the award on behalf of ABHS.

“We’ve had Marquette students placed within our eating disorder program, mental health partial hospital program, mental health intensive outpatient program, the Dewey Center and neuropsychology services at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center,” said Dr. Chrostowski.

Marquette’s counseling psychology program trains Master’s level counseling psychologists and Doctoral level counseling psychologists. For this award, the faculty of the Counseling Psychology department voted on a community partner who has had a significant impact on the training of their students.

“Our substance abuse programs prefer these students, as there is a certificate in substance abuse offered by the program and recognized by the state,” added Chrostowski. “When students are here they are working under their SAC-IT and are obtaining hours towards that certification. It has been a very good relationship and we were honored to be recognized for these efforts.”

“This really is a win-win situation for Aurora and theses students,” said Pete Carlson, president of Aurora Behavioral Health Services. “We are able to provide excellent real-life training and educational experiences for the students, and we frequently hire former students after they graduate.”

This year, Aurora Health Care Foundation recognizes Aurora Behavioral Heath Services with the 130th anniversary of one of its founding facilities, Aurora Psychiatric Hospital. To learn more about the celebration and ways to support ABHS, visit 

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Congratulations! You’re helping a new baby!

snuggleupsnests 1And, actually, hundreds of babies who need specialized care in their first days of life at the Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Aurora West Allis Women’s Pavilion.

Each year, 3,700 babies are born at this hospital and some receive extra care so they can become stronger before going home with their families.

By visiting our online registry, you can help hundreds of babies and families who need this critical care. That’s why this year’s Evening of Promise will benefit improvements to our NICU by helping support:

  • New Giraffe Omni Beds ™, Bili blankets, isolettes, sleep sacks and other medical equipment to help baby in their early, fragile days.
  • Establish a Breast Milk Depot, to help families better provide breast milk for premature babies.
  • Growing our family and advocate groups to support parents of infants requiring NICU care.

You can help by joining our registry at and supporting some of the many needs

For more information on Evening of Promise, which will be held October 2nd at Summit Place in West Allis, visit

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