When Minutes Matter Campaign Saves Plymouth Man

On a cold, snowy evening this past February, local veterinarian Deb Schneider attended the Sheboygan Dog Training Club Awards Banquet at the Town & Country.  It included a lovely dinner with awards to follow. Then, out of the blue, someone shouted out: “Is Jean here?” Deb realized that someone was calling for EMS educator Jean Zemke, who’d recently conducted CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) training at the dog club.


Deb Schneider pictured with Jean Zemke at the Live Well Ozaukee event on August 19, 2016

Deb knew someone was in trouble.

Thanks to Jean’s training, made possible by the Aurora Health Care Foundation’s When Minutes Matter campaign, Deb was able to help fellow attendee and club member Gary Otte, who fell over and stopped breathing. Gary’s wife, Ruth, commented that it all seemed to go by in seconds. But much more time passed while Deb helped Gary regain consciousness.  It took 15 minutes for emergency repsonders to arrive.

Emergencies happen everywhere

When you imagine having a medical emergency, you expect to have help at your door step in a matter of minutes.  Unfortunately, that’s not the case for everyone.  That’s why Aurora Health Care Foundation launched When Minutes Matter, a $650,000 campaign that aims to improve the infrastructure and emergency medical training in order to empower more people in the community with lifesaving tools, when minutes — even seconds – count.

The When Minutes Matter campaign is dedicated to educating as many people as possible with critical lifesaving skills. Deb, Ruth and Gary are thankful for the campaign and the training it provides. Quite simply, if Deb hadn’t received CPR training, the awards banquet could have ended very differently.

“You never know when something like this might happen in your life, whether you’re at dog club, grocery store, restaurant, work, church…” Deb said. “Life is full of things that you’re not expecting. It may be up to you take action. And you can save a life.” That is why When Minutes Matter, matters.

If you would like to learn more about the When Minutes Matter campaign or would like to make a gift, please click here.


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How Aurora is leading in clinical trials– no matter where you live

From Green Bay to Northern Illinois, Aurora Health Care wants all cancer patients to have access to the absolute best care possible. Additional grant money from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is helping to make that possible.

NCI has awarded Aurora an additional $125,000 beyond its projected $755,000 annual grant for its third year of participation in the NCI’s Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP). This is the third year in a row that the NCI has increased the grant allotment to Aurora NCORP.

donna foreman

“Everyone was so, so caring,” Donna says about Aurora Cancer Care. “I never felt alone.” Pictured: Donna, far right, with friends.

Aurora is one of 34 sites nationwide participating in the program, which brings clinical cancer trials to people in their own communities, instead of only at major research institutions. Conducting clinical trials in a range of communities means that a more diverse patient population can participate in clinical trials in “real world” health care settings.

Thomas Saphner, MD, an oncologist at Aurora Medical Center in Manitowoc County and NCORP co-principal investigator, is grateful that patients in his community can be offered these choices, “The NCORP grant means the latest trials are available to the people of Manitowoc County. The studies here are the same studies used at national cancer centers.”

These clinical trials can be lifesaving for people like Donna, a caregiver at Aurora Medical Center in Kenosha. Donna benefited from being a part of a clinical trial that helped her recover from breast cancer in less than three months. She has now been cancer-free for almost four years.

We are grateful for grants like this that are helping to create more access, and for donors like you who are enhancing the care for cancer patients every single day.

To learn more about how you can support Aurora Cancer Care, contact Dawn Groshek at dawn.groshek@aurora.org. If you would like to make a gift, CLICK HERE.

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Hats off to golfers at Color for Care event

Colors for CareDozens of golfers hit the links to help local cancer patients in Racine and Walworth counties! The third annual Color for Care golf event at Geneva National Golf Club was held on Friday, July 29. The golfers helped raise over $10,000 for local Aurora Cancer Care patients. And what’s even more, the funds will be matched 50 percent by the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation.

The money will be used specifically on vein finder medical equipment and to enhance the seating area in the new Vince Lombardi Cancer Clinic, located inside the Aurora Health Care Southern Lakes facility. The new facility is scheduled to open this October and has been a true community fundraising effort, as part of the Partners in Cancer Care campaign. Local residents, like these golfers, are enhancing the programs and services offered at the clinic, as well as helping to build a new healing garden for patients to relax and receive their care in a tranquil, comforting space.

The new center will provide patients with a full scope of vital cancer services all under one roof and close to home. It will feature 25 medical oncology infusion bays, 10 exam rooms, an outpatient procedure room, as well as space for complementary therapies and support services.

KV0111_power_point_buscardThe Color for Care golfers also collected 86 hats that will be donated to patients undergoing chemotherapy at the new clinic. We say “hats off!” to these golfers who are giving back to their community and helping those battling this horrible disease. Thank you! To learn more about the Partners in Cancer Care campaign, CLICK HERE.

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Big heart, big dreams

Laina small

Pictured: Laina Stachowicz, with gifts for Aurora’s Neurosciences patients.

Eight-year-old Laina Stachowicz  is focused on becoming a brain surgeon in the next couple of decades or so.

“Since I can’t do that now, I made care packages to help the patients,” said Laina.

On Thursday, July 28th – and to celebrate her birthday – the Slinger Elementary School student came to Milwaukee’s Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center, where she delivered nearly 1,100 gifts to those undergoing the most delicate of procedures and getting a heartwarming hug from her hero. The Neurosciences team threw her a surprise birthday party, with a special guest.

“What makes it exciting? Just to see him and to look up to him in my future,” said Laina.

“He” was Dr. Amin Kassam,  VP of neurosciences at Aurora Health Care. Dr. Kassam is a world-renowned physician leading Aurora Health Care’s Neurosciences program.

As soon as the birthday surprise was over, the shipment of care packages – filled with puzzles and brain teasers – were already on its way to the ICU for use in communication and cognitive therapies for stroke and brain surgery patients. Check Laina’s gift delivery and visit with Dr. Kassam when you watch this video.

You can join Laina and help to support Aurora’s neurosciences program. Gifts can support key programs, including:

  • Support to Aurora Health Care’s skull-based surgery fellowship program
  • Funds that support the development of a comprehensive epilepsy suite
  • Gifts that advance research through the Aurora Neuroscience Innovation Institute.

Additionally, 100% of your gift is directed to the area you wish to support. To learn more, contact Michelle Schuerman at 414-385-2479, email michelle.schuerman@aurora.org or to make a gift online, CLICK HERE.

Story courtesy of FOX6 Milwaukee. 

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Driving change while driving patients in Manitowoc County

We live in a time that includes greater access to health care than ever. But there are still barriers that prevent many members of our community from obtaining the health care services they need. One of those barriers is something that you and I might take for granted: transportation.

Manitowoc van

The Manitowoc Patient Transportation Van

In Manitowoc County, one program has taken on this challenge. The Patient Transportation Van at Aurora Medical Center in Manitowoc County gets people from point A to what can be a critical point B: Their doctor’s appointment.

“About 30 percent of Manitowoc County residents are either elderly, or live below the poverty line,” says Foundation Development Coordinator Rachel Rupnik. “That’s nearly an entire third of the county that may not be able to see their health care provider when they might really need to.”

The Patient Transportation Van logged over 3,000 trips and 30,000 miles in 2015, ensuring that residents didn’t have to skip much-needed care. You might think that there are plenty of people who drive even more than that in year, but this no small feat: The program is 100 percent donor-funded and operated by volunteers, driving all throughout Manitowoc County’s city streets, country roads and farm tracks to pick up those who need help getting to their health care appointments.

But while there’s no shortage of dedication from the community and volunteers, the program’s operating costs are significant.

“It takes about $15,000 to run the program,” says Erik Barber, Foundation development officer. “With the number of rides increasing 30 percent over the last five years, securing funding to cover those costs is truly essential.”
Live Well Manitowoc
One way you can support this fundraising effort is by attending or supporting Live Well Manitowoc on Aug. 5. It’s a farm-to-fork dinner that includes whole foods grown and raised in the county.

Help keep the Manitowoc County Patient Transportation Van truckin’! We look forward to seeing you at the Golf Course on Branch River – click here to purchase your ticket or donate today!

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Eight inspiring Walks to Tackle Cancer finished- one HUGE one to go!

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Thank you to everyone who participated or made a gift to support a Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer this June! The eight walks in June have already raised over $170,000 and donations are still coming in! That is truly incredible. Check out some pictures above from Oshkosh, Germantown, Kenosha, Green Bay, Sheboygan, Williams Bay, Oconomowoc and Two Rivers. CLICK HERE to go to our Flickr page where each event has their own photo album.

LCRF_Logos_fnl_Color-NoLocationBUT OUR WORK ISN’T DONE YET! Coming up on Saturday, July 23 is the Lombardi Walk/Run to Tackle Cancer at Festa Italiana! CLICK HERE to learn more about the walk/run, how you can help a walker or runner raise money, or better yet- start your own team and experience the inspiring event yourself! 

All funds raised will support Aurora Cancer Care programs, services and research and receive a 50 percent match from the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation! That means your gift automatically goes even further. We are so grateful for all the warm, loving faces we have seen at these walks. You are truly inspiring your community to make a difference and helping to #TackleCancer for people you know and love, plus faces you may never see or meet. You ARE making a difference. Thank you.

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Support research like TORQUE and change the face of cancer survivorship

Dr. Judy Tjoe, in the white hat, holds the hand of Team Phoenix member Janine Herr, after a successful triathlon.

Dr. Judy Tjoe, in the white hat, holds the hand of Team Phoenix member Janine Herr, after a successful triathlon.

Through her research program, medical director Judy Tjoe, MD, is dedicated to changing the face of breast cancer care and survivorship through Translational Oncology Research: Quest for Understanding & Exploration, or TORQUE.

“Aurora Research Institute’s breast cancer research program, TORQUE, employs a ‘bedside-to-bench’ approach,” says Dr. Tjoe, a fellowship-trained breast oncology surgeon.

Under the TORQUE umbrella, the Team Phoenix breast cancer survivorship program helps motivate cancer survivors to improve their quality of life. They train – under medical guidance – for a triathlon, learning best practices for removing physical and psychological barriers for initiating and maintaining a regular exercise routine after cancer treatment.

As part of the research component for Team Phoenix, exercise physiologists and cardiologists are working collaboratively to study how exercise affects heart function after cardio toxic breast cancer treatments. Researchers are also investigating ways to reduce cancer-related fatigue in patients who have undergone treatment.

“TORQUE scientists leverage patient data in the electronic health record against a biorepository of tissue and blood samples to find hidden clues, or genetic biomarkers, which may increase treatment effectiveness and improve individual survivorship,” says Dr. Tjoe.

This collaborative atmosphere includes researchers in the institute’s Biorepository and Specimen Resource Center and industry partners, using residual tissue donated by patients. They are studying the molecular makeup of tumor cells, which improves understanding about how cancer develops, allows discovery of those hidden genetic biomarkers and spurs development of new targeted drug therapies.

Studies conducted by TORQUE researchers are supported by generous donors, including a significant gift this year by the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation.

LCRF_Logos_fnl_Color-NoLocationOne way to support innovative cancer research like this is by participating in a Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer!  Join our upcoming walks in Oconomowoc and Two Rivers THIS WEEKEND! And the 29th annual Lombardi Walk/Run to Tackle Cancer in Milwaukee is July 23 at Festa Italiana! To get all dates and times, or to start building your team, CLICK HERE.

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