The “rare” treatment Pete received, and how you can help enhance that care for others just like him


During some of Pete’s treatments he says a caregiver would come in to talk to him, or as pictured here, offer a massage. He says it was those extra considerations that made him feel so valued as a patient.

Pete Archbold was diagnosed in March of this year with squamous cell carcinoma, which is a fairly common form of oral cancer. He noticed two enlarged lymph nodes on the right side of his neck and a biopsy confirmed his worst fear. Pete’s doctors initially removed both of his tonsils and biopsied his tongue, pharynx and the roof of this mouth, but they never found the initial source of his cancer.

Pete had his chemotherapy and radiation treatments all through the Aurora Cancer Care center in Kenosha. He was a rare patient; rare in that whatever kind of side effect or complication that could go along with his treatments, even the rare ones, Pete seemed to get.

“I’m the five percent guy. Only five percent of people get hiccups from the chemotherapy; well I got hiccups. I got a hematoma and needed emergency surgery, nobody gets hematomas. I just had a lot of rare complications,” Pete shares.

But Pete says what also made his situation rare was the exceptional care he received at Aurora. He got emotional talking about his caregivers, who he says are all first-class, “The care at Aurora is just top-notch. They have a tough job; I don’t know how they do it. From the receptionist to the nurses, to the doctors– they just care. They really do.”

Pete is finished with radiation and chemotherapy and is now doing physical therapy to learn how to swallow again. He’s still not able to eat normal foods and is just barely starting to get his appetite back. There is no doubt; his year has been a tough one. But he is extremely grateful for the care he received, and can’t imagine going anywhere else.

“I know they also offered things like massage therapy and acupuncture. I had a woman who would come in and just sit and talk to me sometimes, just to see how I was doing. It was all so helpful, and I am so grateful to have been offered so many options,” he says.

infinity-ball-graphics-2016-revYou can help enhance the already exceptional care being offered at Aurora Cancer Care clinics in Racine and Kenosha by attending the Infinity Ball on Saturday, November 5. To purchase tickets or to make a gift, go to

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Regaining confidence with every step through the help of Team Phoenix

We recently spoke to some athletes from Team Phoenix, which trains breast cancer survivors to complete a triathlon. Diane Ringeisen, who participated in the team’s most recent event on July 31, gave us her thoughts about the training and the team in her own words.

Tell us about your breast cancer journey.

I am a registered nurse, who works in breast cancer sometimes. When I tell my story, I sometimes feel like I’m speaking about someone else. When I speak about it I could see it from a different perspective as a health care provider.

But, it’s me. I’ve had quite a long journey with breast cancer, and thankfully I was able to beat it twice. I was diagnosed 16 years ago when I was in my early 40s. I survived that, and then I had a recurrence six years ago. Through treatments, I successfully fought the cancer.

How did you hear about Team Phoenix?

Actually, I saw a small ad in a local newspaper. Most people say that a triathlon is on their bucket list, but to be honest it wasn’t on mine!  It seemed challenging, though, and those kinds of challenges catch my attention.  So I answered the ad and was invited to participate.

I joined in the month of March, and we had a 14-week training period prior to the triathlon.

What made you decide to sign up?

I am the kind of person who is very diligent about working out for a while, and then I don’t. Being active is more of doing something at your leisure. I have a lot of peaks and valleys.  Coach Lauren told us at the beginning of the training that there is a huge difference between having an active lifestyle, and actually training.  With training there was a goal in mind.  You have to follow a formal workout schedule. Running in this triathlon was a confidence booster.

I always thought I had a healthy body, but it was hard for me to trust my body again after the diagnosis. I wasn’t sure if I could go through the training, be successful, and improve my health.

Why do you say it was hard for you to ‘trust your body’?

When you have a cancer diagnosis you see yourself as something being wrong with your body. It was scary to put that trust in my body again – that I can be my healthy self again. By eating right and exercising twice a week, I can have that confidence in myself again. Biking, swimming, running 5ks, those were all physical accomplishments.

Especially the swimming! The running and biking were not as hard, but the swimming was. The training helped me to build the confidence to complete the swimming successfully.  The coaching staff and physical therapist was always there for motivate, and help you in your time of need.

What really struck you about Team Phoenix?

The focus was not on breast cancer. The participants incorporated that experience in their life, and over the 14-week period they were able to use those experiences as motivation to train. But this was not a group of women who saw themselves as victims.  Something that stood out to me is the absolute strength of these women, and how they incorporated their life threatening experience into their lives.  In the end they really became stronger women.

What sort of impact do you feel Team Phoenix has had on your life?

The whole experience brought back my faith and belief in health care. We all have experiences with health care systems.  The coaching was one aspect, but the umbrella of the Aurora services that came with the program was such a unique experience.

It is truly a gift to be a part of this program, because every volunteer, everyone on the Aurora staff, and every coach was there for us as an individual. Every single person was always kind, supportive, and would give you whatever you need to help you succeed in this program. No matter what your skill level was everyone was there for each other.  Everyone waited for you to cross the finish line. It didn’t matter if you were the first or the 33rd person crossing the finish line.  Everyone was still standing there to support you. You can tell when people are doing things from their heart.  It’s not a job – it is their passion.

This October, you can help support breast cancer awareness and breast health when you support the Pink Possible campaign.  You can also find out more about Team Phoenix when you CLICK HERE.

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You can help patients like Liz achieve greater comfort during cancer treatment


Even as “terrible as cancer can be,” Liz found the atmosphere at Aurora Cancer Care “always positive and hopeful.”

Liz was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2014 after having her first mammogram in 30 years. “I had been putting it off for all those years because after having the first one I just never wanted to go back for another one,” she says, “even knowing the risks involved in not having one.”

Still, Liz was surprised when she was asked to wait for the radiologist, who told her that her left breast would need a CT scan. She was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“From that moment on I felt I was treated with great compassion and respect,” she reports. From her cancer nurse navigator to the registration staff at the desk, Liz felt at home during her treatment.

In fact, this comfort helped Liz both physically and emotionally.

“This may sound a little odd but as I got into the routine of coming in for the chemo treatments I actually started looking forward to it,” Liz says. “I got to go into a friendly office and room filled with comfortable recliner chairs,” she said. “I was offered homemade treats brought in by fellow patients, and there was always someone else there I had something in common with.”
live-well-oshkosh-graphic-369x269You can help patients like Liz achieve the same sort of comfort, respite and support when you attend our 3rd Annual Live Well Oshkosh. We’re raising funds to bring more supportive therapies to Aurora Cancer Care in Oshkosh, like art therapy, reiki and treatments in the Healing Garden. While the clinic already provides patients with much supportive care with its aromatherapy and massage therapy services, these additional therapies will help patients feel even more physical and emotional comfort during the rigors of cancer treatment.

All proceeds from Live Well Oshkosh will stay local and help Aurora Cancer Care patients in the Oshkosh area. For more information, including how to donate and reserve your seat, CLICK HERE to get started.


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2016 Aurora Gala Raises $740,000 to Support Women’s Health Programs

More than 800 people attended Aurora Health Care Foundation’s sold-out Aurora Gala on Saturday, October 8 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee. Together, more than $740,000 was raised celebrating the strength, health and vitality of women, as noted in the event theme, Strong. Inspiring. Unique. Just like you.

“We know dynamic women who are making a difference… they are often the health care leaders for their families,” said Cristy Garcia-Thomas, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Aurora Health Care, and President of Aurora Health Care Foundation. “We aim to keep them healthy because they are the reason our community is vibrant and our families are strong.”

The BMO Harris Bradley Center was transformed into an elegant garden party, where guests enjoyed an elegant dinner and surprise concert by the band, Chicago, which was inducted this year into the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame. The event supports Aurora Health Care programs that:

  • Strengthen programs and services tailored to meet the health care needs of women.
  • Support efforts to help all moms and babies have the best start of life together.
  • Expand programs that help survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence thrive, including Aurora Sinai Medical Center’s Safe Mom Safe Baby program.

A special thank you to our sponsors and attendees whose participation and support benefited these programs. A very special thank you to our event co-chairs – Joanne BauerPatty CadorinDr. Minnie Chambers, Nancy Hernandez and Kathy Turkal – whose inspiring stories showed us that all women are strong, inspiring and unique…just like you.

You can help support and provide access to Aurora’s women’s health programs when you click here to donate.

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More than $27,000 raised from 2nd Annual Walk for Aurora Zilber Family Hospice

On October 2, more than 200 walkers braved the rain and gathered at Hart Park in Wauwatosa to support the 2nd Annual Walk for Aurora Zilber Family Hospice.

Thanks to all walkers, donors and sponsors, more than $27,000 was raised for this important cause that will help provide end-of-life care with compassion, dignity and respect to men, women and children in our community.

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If you didn’t have a chance to attend and would like to get involved, you can. Make any last minute donations to the Walk for Aurora Zilber Family Hospice HERE .  You can also participate in our Tree of Angels program. You can purchase an angel ornament, and you can also attend the memorial ceremony on December 6, 2016 at Aurora Zilber Family Hospice. For more information, click here .

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Aurora caregivers running to support palliative care

These Aurora caregivers are so passionate about helping others, they are literally running a marathon for their patients! Not only are they making this huge commitment, they’re making it easy for you to support them, too.

According to the team’s fundraising page, “To play our part outside of our hospitals and clinics, we want to raise awareness and dollars to support our palliative care program. We are running in the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon on October 2, 2016. We encourage you to make a donation in honor of a family, friend or neighbor who has needed such care, or make one in our honor to help us get to the finish line!”


Pictured from left to right: Cara Herdrich, Krin Kramer, Mimi Kokoska, Trishya Brown and Kim Stapelfeldt.

Palliative care is specialized medical care for those with very serious, even life-threatening illness. Because patients and families living with serious illness face so many challenges, palliative care is most effective when provided by multidisciplinary teams.

“Palliative Care can be provided as an outpatient, inpatient or in the home, across a continuum from acute and chronic illness to end of life, all the while optimizing quality of life, comfort and preserving dignity. Aurora has such wonderful caregivers in Palliative Care,” explains Mimi Kokoska, MD, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of Hospital Based Specialties.

And you can support five of them this weekend! If you would like to make a gift, click here .

To learn more about palliative care, click here .

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You can help provide exceptional end-of-life care at the Walk for Aurora Zilber Family Hospice

It doesn’t matter how long – or how briefly – hospice care lasts. The care provided at the end stage of one’s life is some of the most important care ever received.

That’s because hospice care is the health care we truly remember.


Pictured, left to right, is Allison’s grandfather Gilbert Selin, Grandmother Jean Selin and mother Judy Klein.

Allison Klein can attest to this. In 2006, Her grandfather, Gilbert Selin, was admitted to Aurora Zilber Family Hospice for just a short time: one day. But the impact of Gilbert’s exceptional care has been long-lasting.

“I remember the caregivers. Almost instantly, the caregivers made my grandpa feel comfortable and made the family feel comforted,” Allison recalls. “They did a wonderful job of gathering family members as we arrived, and preparing us for our next step through his room’s doors.”

It was the first time Allison had experienced a loved one’s passing in a health care setting. But the Aurora Zilber Family Hospice caregivers were there to ensure that Allison and her family could experience the joy of her grandfather’s life, as well as peace in his passing.

“They gave us all the time we needed to say our goodbyes, and they were patient,” she says. “And they offered hugs when they felt one of us needed one. They made us feel at peace.”
zilberwalklogo-300We want to thank Allison for sharing her grandfather’s story. You can help ensure that other families experience the same great care when you participate in the 2nd Annual Walk for Aurora Zilber Family Hospice on Sunday, Oct. 2. CLICK HERE to sign your team up, sponsor another participant, or simply donate to this important cause.

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