Lake Country Ball raises nearly $100,000 for rehabilitation services

A huge thank you to sponsors and attendees of the Lake Country Ball, who helped raise nearly $100,000 to support rehabilitation services at Aurora Health Care in Waukesha and Jefferson counties. Your gift ensures that we will be able to enhance our programs and services by:

  • purchasing an AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill, which allows patients to walk or run with little to no weight-bearing as they build strength or recover;
  • dedicating a room solely to pelvic floor treatment, complete with a biofeedback computer program unit;
  • purchasing vestibular googles that can help assist in the vestibular and concussion programs;
  • adding bariatric hi-low tables to be inclusive of all patients that need Aurora’s services;
  • purchasing an elliptical; and
  • acquiring a golf swing analyzer and the space to utilize it.

The event was held on Saturday, November 4 at the Milwaukee Marriott West in Waukesha. Click here if you’d like to make a gift to support the rehabilitation department. To see pictures from the Lake Country Ball, click here.

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How your gifts to Aurora Family Service help families stay whole

Aurora Family Service is focused exclusively on family wellness and stability. It helps promote self-sufficiency through every stage of life, integrating physical health, mental health, social services, family and marriage therapy, and a variety of financial wellness programs too. Because of generous support from the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County and donors like you, here is some of what Aurora Family Service did in 2016:

Thank you, United Way

“United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County has been a proud partner of Aurora Family Service since 1909. Over the years, we have worked together to strengthen families from their earliest days, through prenatal care and home visitation programs, to later in life, by helping seniors with limited income to maintain their independence. In 2017-18, we are proud to support five Aurora Family Service programs representing all three of our core pillars: Health, Education and Financial Stability.”

Nicole Angresano
Vice President, Community Impact
United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County

If your organization hosts a United Way campaign, you can choose Aurora Family Service for your donation! Or you can always make a gift on our website, go to and choose Aurora Family Service.


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Leaving a Legacy: How donors like Jennifer Cooper will enhance care at Aurora for years to come

Jennifer Cooper is a research coordinator, sr. at Aurora Health Care, and has worked at Aurora St. Luke’s for decades. She is also a member our Legacy Society.

Jennifer Cooper has given a lot of her time, energy and expertise to Aurora Health Care. Aurora has been her employer for more than 41 years! Four decades is a very long time to work for the same company, but Jennifer has found ways to stay interested and continue learning.

“My first job out of college was here, what is now Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center. I’ve worked in research for more than ten years, and before that was in the cardiac operating room,” Jennifer shared. “I still go visit my colleagues there, and they invite me to their parties. I just really value the people I’ve worked with.”

For Jennifer, working at Aurora St. Luke’s hasn’t been just a job; it’s been a rewarding career. With the help of Aurora’s loan forgiveness program, she went back to school at the age of 60 to get her Bachelor’s degree in nursing.

“I feel like Aurora has given me a lot of opportunities over the years. I’ve had many different roles and you can really grow within Aurora, which I appreciate,” she explained.

Throughout her life she has donated to many Aurora funds that are important to her, by giving through the Aurora Partnership Campaign. But she decided to make an even bigger commitment by joining our Legacy Society and naming Aurora Health Care as the beneficiary of her retirement plan.

“I don’t have a large family or anything, and I thought that since two-thirds of my life has been here, why not give back? Aurora has been good to me, and I value the people and the patients very much,” said Jennifer.

And we value people like Jennifer who are enhancing the care offered at Aurora Health Care every single day. There are many ways you can join our Legacy Society and many benefits for doing so. CLICK HERE to learn more.


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Join us to celebrate the angels in your life

We’ve all experienced the loss of loved ones. That space they used to occupy in your life – in your heart – can ache with its absence. This can be especially hard during the holidays.

But then there’s the joy they brought to us. The laughter, the experiences, the way they made our lives richer just by being there. The loved ones in your life who’ve passed away… they are angels.


The community’s angels illuminate at our 2016 celebration and remembrance ceremony.

A tradition for 25 years, Tree of Angels celebration and remembrance ceremony at Aurora Zilber Family Hospice in Wauwatosa helps you celebrate the lives of those who mean so much to you in an unforgettable way: By commemorating your loved ones with an angel on the tree.

With a gift of $30, you’ll receive a pewter keepsake ornament to serve as a tribute to the person who meant so much to you. A second angel with your loved one’s name will be hung from the holiday trees outside at the hospice, all throughout the holiday season.

All proceeds will benefit our extraordinary patient care, family support programming, caregiver training and so much more.

ToA25purpleThis year’s Tree of Angels ceremony and remembrance ceremony will be held at 4 and 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 6 at Aurora Zilber Family Hospice, 1155 Honey Creek Parkway, Wauwatosa. Parking will be available in Hart Park, with shuttles to take you event.

Your gift is 100 percent tax-deductible, and will help bring hope and comfort to those receiving care from our hospice programs. For more information on how you can remember your loved ones in this special way, visit our website, call Allison Klein at 414-219-4713 or email

Tree of Angels is a celebration for our entire community. We are honored to help you remember your loved one, even if they did not receive care through the Aurora at Home Hospice program or Aurora Zilber Family Hospice.

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How Aurora’s addiction treatment programs helped Amy rebuild her life

Amy Book stands in front of a campaign sign for the Renew, Restore, Rebuild campaign on the Aurora Behavioral Health Services campus in Wauwatosa.

Amy Book was 17 years old and hoping to go to college on a dance
scholarship. Two weeks before tryouts she tore her rotator cuff and needed
shoulder surgery. Forget tryouts. Forget dance. Forget my future. At least
that’s how Amy felt. She didn’t go to college and didn’t have a backup plan.

“I was put on pain killers after the surgery and when they stopped giving them
to me, I realized I was sick. And I was hanging around the wrong people,” Amy

She started finding drugs in other ways and it eventually escalated to heroin.
She used regularly for five years and tried to get sober a few times, including
a 32-day stint at the Dewey Center on Aurora’s Behavioral Health campus in
Wauwatosa. But nothing really stuck. Then on her birthday, February 18 of
2016, her dad arrived to her home to take her out to dinner and found her
lifeless body on the fl oor. She had overdosed.

“That got me back to the program. I wouldn’t say it was rock bottom because
I’ve had so many of them. I just decided to stop digging my own grave,” Amy

Amy (left) helps facilitate a recovery meeting with Myriah Mundt at Aurora’s Lighthouse on Dewey,  which is an addiction resource center for community support groups.

And so with the help of the treatment program and lessons learned at the
Dewey Center, Amy has now been sober for a year and a half. She talks
to people at the Dewey Center nearly every day and considers them like
family. She also attends regular meetings at Lighthouse on Dewey, and has
a steady job at Starbucks where she’s now a manager. She has renewed her
relationships with family and loved ones and is slowly restoring her faith in her
future. She has rebuilt her life and is incredibly grateful for the services Aurora
has provided to help make that possible.

“We need more places like Dewey. The kids and even adults that come
through here, they need to be set up for success and sometimes a place like
this is the only place that can give it to them.”


The Renew, Restore, Rebuild campaign is a $1.5 million fundraising effort
to support the construction of a new consolidated Dewey Center, including
a Serenity Garden, and it has already helped to expand the Culver Alumni
House, a home-like transitional living facility. To make a gift or learn more

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Your gifts are already saving lives in Ozaukee and Sheboygan counties

“My husband just collapsed; I think he had a stroke. David, wake up! David?”

That’s how Patricia Hallam’s seven minute 911 call began on September 15. Her 64-year-old husband, David, had collapsed in the driveway of their home in Saukville.

L-R: Dr. Steven Zils, Patricia and David Hallam. Dr Zils is the medical director for the new EMD system that helped Patricia save her husband’s life.

But help was on the other line, thanks to Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) software, which was funded by donors to Aurora Health Care Foundation’s When Minutes Matter campaign in Ozaukee and Sheboygan counties. The software helped Ozaukee County Sheriff Dispatcher Michael Eibs talk Patricia through CPR while she waited for an ambulance to arrive.

“Just stay on the line and I’ll tell you exactly what to do next,” he said.

Cool, calm and collected

Not only was Michael able to give Patricia instructions, he also made sure she kept her cool while performing chest compressions on David.

“How he kept her calm during the whole situation, I’m really pleased with that,” said David at a recent news conference, where Patricia received an award from the Sheriff’s Office for her bravery. “I’m pleased to be here,” he added.

Patricia received an award for her bravery from Ozaukee County Sheriff James Johnson.

David is alive and well today because of Patricia, Dispatcher Michael Eibs, the first responders who rushed to their house and donors like you who made EMD a reality.

“We would just like to say thank you, thank you, thank you to all the donors who provided money for this program,” said Patricia. “And we are so thankful to all the dispatchers, EMTs, first responders and police officers for their part in saving David’s life. We are eternally grateful to each one of them.”

Instant success in Sheboygan County

The software has been in place in Ozaukee County since February 2016. It was implemented in Sheboygan County on October 9 of this year, when it helped save a life within minutes. A 911 call came in for a worker who had gotten her arm stuck in machine. The call came in so quickly, in fact, that some dispatchers thought it was a test.

“Not two minutes after (the software was switched on), the 911 call came in and the supervisor, to her credit, wanted to be the first one and took the call,” Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Lt. Kristine DeBlaey told the Sheboygan Press. “We heard her say ‘She got an arm caught in a machine,’ and the whole room went dead quiet. We heard her start giving instructions, and we realized it was real.”

That wasn’t the only life dispatchers helped save the first day EMD went live. There were also calls for an injury accident, a gunshot wound and a pregnant woman having a seizure.

Every second counts

The When Minutes Matter campaign raised $550,000, including a $125,000 gift from Acuity Insurance, to provide more people in the community with lifesaving tools and empower them to act in emergency situations. Nearly 80% of Ozaukee and Sheboygan counties’ EMS responders are volunteers or paid-on-call, and a vast majority of the counties are rural. As a result, it takes an average of 5-10 minutes for a first responder to arrive to an emergency — sometimes double the national average. And the time that lapses between a 911 call and when first responders typically arrive is critical to the health and outcome of the patient.

“When suffering from life-threatening conditions, rather than have your medical care start when the paramedics show up, your medical care is going to start as soon as you call 911,” said Steven Zils, MD, Aurora physician and medical director for the new dispatch system.

How you can help

You can still make a gift to this lifesaving campaign. To learn more, please click here.







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Giving and gratitude: a volunteer’s story

“All the letters and handmade cards that came in from the families were amazing,” said Karri Biscobing, a caregiver with Aurora Family Service (AFS) who volunteers for Family to Family Thanksgiving.  “You never really know how you affect someone. Reading their own words, in their own handwriting, was really special.”


Family to Family  Thanksgiving client Crystal Jackson expresses what the program means to her.

Now in her third year as a volunteer, Karri is the program’s volunteer coordinator – and she’s excited for the opportunity.

“From my first year simply as a volunteer on one of the shifts to now being on the planning committee, I have enjoyed the chance to experience this event more and more each year,” she explained. “Over the course of the three days of the event we have nearly 350 volunteers who offer up their time to make it all happen!”

Helping to strengthen families and neighborhoods


When she’s not partnering with AFS clients or volunteering at Family to Family Thanksgiving, Karri (top left) enjoys spending time with her family.

Karri shared that as a lead case manager for the My Choice Family Care Program at AFS, she has the chance every day to help neighborhood residents become stronger in their environment, many of whom are struggling with a variety of socioeconomic issues, including hunger and food security.

AFS partners with nearly 150 different schools, churches and local organizations to help deliver the 3,100 Thanksgiving meals to families from its diverse neighborhood. If you’re doing the math, that’s more than 61,000 families helped in the program’s 20-year history. “And it wouldn’t be possible without teamwork and collaboration to make certain all areas are covered.”


That makes Family to Family Thanksgiving a truly special opportunity for her and her team.

“My team really looks forward to it each year,” Karri said. “It truly provides a heartwarming experience not just for those receiving the meals, but for those distributing them as well. There’s nothing like giving.”

How you can give to Family to Family Thanksgiving

Just $35 will provide the ingredients for a complete Thanksgiving meal. Or, you can feed two families for only $70. But really, any amount will help bring happiness home! Here’s how to donate:

  • Mobile: Text the word FAMILY to 71760 and choose your donation amount
  • Desktop: Visit our website
  • Phone: Call 877-460-8730

F2F narrow

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