How joining a Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer helps, not only your community, but your own health, too

Chrissy, Jim and his son, Jon Luke, at the 2016 Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer in Germantown.

Jim Robertson is a great example of how participating in a Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer can mean doing something good, not only for  your community, but for your own health, too. He used last year’s walk in Germantown as motivation to get in shape and lose weight.

In February 2016, Jim decided to make his own health a priority, “I was finally at a point in my life where I tried to seriously do something about my weight. I was at 405 pounds,” Jim explained. He joined Aurora’s HMR program for weight management and was encouraged to use the Lombardi Walk as motivation.

Chrissy Carroll is Jim’s Health Educator, “When I shared this opportunity with my patients, they were quickly intrigued. My only request was that they would simply walk with us on that day so they could experience building up their walking minutes while supporting a great cause.”

“My wife and I started walking, one block at a time, every night. In the first month we got

Jim is now down 145 pounds and is almost to his goal weight.

to one mile, second month was two miles and by mid-May we were up to three,” Jim shared.

By the time the walk arrived in early June, Jim had already lost around 60 pounds! And not only was he ready to do the Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer, but he had also agreed to participate in a 5K walk the very next day that supported patients with Crohn’s, as his daughter has been diagnosed with that disease.

Jim’s son Jon Luke flew in for the weekend to provide support. Overall, Chrissy and Jim, along with other teammates, raised more than $1,200 for local cancer patients in the Germantown area. Jim is now down 145 pounds and plans to be back walking again this June.

“I never thought I would be inspirational for other people. So to hear that I can help others, it’s just amazing. I’m really happy to be able to support it,” he said.

You can be an inspiration to others, just like Jim! Get some exercise and support local cancer patients at the Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer in Germantown on Saturday, June 3. This year, there are ten Lombardi Walks all throughout southeast Wisconsin this June and July. CLICK HERE to register your team today at a walk near you!

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Mother, grandmother inspire former Packer to #TackleCancer year after year

Fist bumps, high-fives, selfies, you name it. When Santana Dotson rallies people to tackle cancer, he’s all in. Santana is about to return for his fourth straight year as the Chairperson for the Lombardi Walk/Run to Tackle Cancer in Milwaukee. One reason he keeps coming back is because he’s always liked being a part of a winning team.

Santana and fan

Santana gives a lift to one of his smallest fans, Cooper Haas, at the 2016 Lombardi Walk/Run in Milwaukee

“The best part about being a Packer is being a part of events and programs in the Packers community,” said Santana. “Vince Lombardi was legendary with what he did on the football field, but also now with how he’s impacting cancer through the foundation. So to be a part of that legacy, it’s an honor and a blessing and a privilege.”

Fighting cancer for family

The former Defensive Tackle helped the Green Bay Packers win a championship in 1997 and is now in the Packers Hall of Fame. His football accomplishments are impressive, but there was always someone in his life who kept him grounded, someone who reminded him about the importance of giving back—his mother, Caroline.

Santana with grandmother and mom

Santana and his grandmother, Creola, and mother, Caroline. Both women lost their fights against lymphoma in recent years.

“Being the son of a social worker, that tells you all you need to know. She wasn’t concerned about all-American or Super Bowl. She was concerned about how I was making not only my family better, but my community better,” Santana shared.

His mom is another reason he supports the Lombardi Walks, not only because of those lessons she taught, but because of the impact this horrible disease had on her. Santana lost his mom to lymphoma three years ago. He and his sister took her to treatments several days a week. He knows firsthand the impact it has on the entire family.

“Cancer wears on you physically, but it’s also an emotional disease that affects everyone in your family unit. Everyone is on the front lines for treatments, chemo and post care. So for me to come to the walk and give people a hug or a high-five, it’s like a pep rally. It’s Lombardi’s way of saying, ‘you can do it and we are here for you.’”

Santana also participates for his grandmother, who passed away two years before his mother did. She also had lymphoma. Keeping their memories alive and getting to know people in the community is what keeps him coming back year after year.


Santana greets fans at the 2016 Lombardi Walk/Run in Milwaukee

“It touches you personally, and you want to be able to help more people because you really understand what folks are going through,” he said. “You want to meet them where they are and let them know you’re supporting of them, you understand.”

Santana also loves being able to meet his fans.

“They all have stories about watching Packers games with their family and they’re walking with them or for them. For a lot of these events, it’s the whole family unit showing up to support those affected by cancer.”

How you can help

If you’re a cancer survivor or want to support others in your community, you can join Santana’s team at one of ten Lombardi Walks to Tackle Cancer this year.

Money raised will support local cancer care and research initiatives by Aurora Cancer Care and is eligiLCRF_Logos_AllLocations_fnl-Milwaukee-Colorble for a 50 percent match from the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation.

All proceeds from the Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer will stay local. To see all walk locations and join the team, go to

Santana will be in Milwaukee on July 22 and he’ll be ready with a fist bump if you need it.

Posted in Cancer care, Fundraising Events, INSPIRE Newsletter, Lombardi Walks to Tackle Cancer, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Get INSPIRED to support local cancer patients!

Our Spring 2017 issue of Aurora Health Care Foundation’s Inspire magazine is arriving in mailboxes all over southeast Wisconsin and northern Illinois. This issue celebrates Aurora’s commitment to local cancer patients and making sure they always have the best care possible, close to home.

Here’s what you will learn about in this issue of Inspire magazine:

  • Santana Dotson, a former Green Bay Packers player, is back as our Lombardi Walk/Run to Tackle Cancer Chairperson. Read why this cause is near and dear to his heart.
  • Learn where your money goes when you give to a cancer fund at Aurora Health Care Foundation.
  • Check out some AMAZING champions of our Lombardi Walks to Tackle Cancer! Some are caregivers, some have battled cancer, some have lost loved ones; but they all have something in common– TACKLING CANCER.

CLICK HERE to download the latest issue online.

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More than $245,000 was raised at this year’s Hope Shining Blue event

Thank you to all sponsors and attendees for another successful Hope Shining Blue event! This year, more than $245,000 was raised- a record high- to  support all of Aurora’s Healing and Advocacy Services programs in Milwaukee including Aurora Healing Center on Bruce (The Healing Center), Aurora Healing Center at Aurora Sinai Medical Center (Sexual Assault Treatment Center), Safe Mom Safe Baby, and the Milwaukee Sexual Assault Review.

At the event, Shawn Hittman was presented with this year’s THRIVE award. Shawn was honored for his courageous approach to healing after surviving childhood sexual abuse. He received counseling at the Aurora Healing Center on Bruce, and is now using his experience to help others. CLICK HERE to watch his story.

Our survivor models did such a fantastic job on the runway and were a wonderful example of what courage and dignity looks like. To see more photos of our survivor models and from the wonderful night, CLICK HERE.

Hope Shining Blue is a Denim Day celebration. Learn more about Hope Shining Blue and how you can help here. 

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Oncology precision medicine: The future of cancer care

Whether it’s a friend, family member – or maybe even you – cancer touches all of us in some way. And while this devastating disease may be common, treatments for each cancer and each person are highly individual.

Now Aurora Cancer Care has another tool to provide more options for people in cancer care through its new Oncology Precision Medicine clinic. This advancement will be particularly helpful to those whose cancer is resistant to more conventional forms of treatment, like chemotherapy and radiation.

What is precision medicine?

“Precision medicine is personalized therapy based on molecular tumor signatures,” said program co-director Michael Thompson, M.D., Ph.D. He is a board-certified hematologist and oncologist, with a doctoral degree in pharmacogenetics. Dr. Thompson will use a new software to leverage molecular profiling technology to help patients explore additional treatment options that take into consideration the genetic characteristics of their tumors.

Thompson and Godden

Jennifer Godden, Pharm.D., and Michael Thompson, M.D., Ph.D., are co-directors of the new Oncology Precision Medicine clinic.

The new multidisciplinary clinic will be located at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center where oncology precision medicine software, Syapse, will be implemented in the fall of 2017, then at all 19 Aurora Cancer Care facilities throughout eastern Wisconsin by early 2018.

How does it work?

Syapse works together with Aurora’s electronic health records system to provide clinicians the ability to access and compare treatment and outcomes data from other leading cancer centers across the nation through the Oncology Precision Network (OPeN), the nation’s largest precision oncology data sharing network for not-for-profit health systems.

It’s through OPeN that cancer experts are be able to share treatment and outcomes data from more than 100,000 patients while preserving individual patient privacy and security. For example, the molecular genetic makeup of each tumor can be compared with patient outcomes, providing potential insights into how certain treatments may be more effective.

More options, more hope

“Precision medicine is the future of cancer care and a topic of great discussion on both a regional and national level, including at the Cancer Moonshot Summit in 2016,” said James Weese, M.D., F.A.C.S., vice president of Aurora Cancer Care. “To bring the depth and experience of Syapse and OPeN to the nearly 8,000 new cancer patients we treat each year means we’ll be able to offer more treatment options and also make smarter choices on treatments based on analyzing biological markers in tumors to see what’s worked well with similar tumors from across the country.”

Additionally, Syapse will serve as a ‘match-maker’ for some patients to gain access to more clinical trials.

“Syapse allows us the potential to make much more informed decisions by leveraging molecular technologies to see what treatment options have been most effective against certain types of cancers,” said Dr. Thompson. “And through OPeN, we’re able to, in some instances, improve access time to clinical trials, which is critical to helping patients seeking care. While not everyone can benefit using this approach, we hope to offer options to people who still want therapy and may be able to participate in a clinical trial or targeted therapies.”

How can I help?

LCRF_Logos_fnl_Color-NoLocationThe Lombardi Walks to Tackle Cancer are a fun way to support innovative cancer care this summer – one that brings together friends, families and communities to help people with cancer locally. Beginning June 3, they’re right around the corner! You can choose from 10 locations, so find the events closest to you and sign up today at!

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$40,000 raised for N.E.W. Community Clinic during A Cause to Celebrate event

Thank you to all sponsors and attendees for participating in the A Cause to Celebrate event which was held at the Automobile Gallery in Green Bay. This year, funds will benefit the N.E.W. Community Clinic, a Well Community partner of Aurora BayCare Medical Center.

$40,000 was raised to help low-income and uninsured people access quality, comprehensive and compassionate health care in the greater Green Bay community. This will allow more people to have access to world-class care close to home

At the event, Dr. Joseph Binard was awarded the Community Health Impact Award.

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Click here to view more photos from the night!

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New Culver Alumni House gives hope to more people on their journey to sobriety

On Thursday, April 20, roughly 50 supporters of Aurora Health Care Foundation’s Renew, Restore, Rebuild Campaign became the first to tour the new Culver Alumni House, a transitional living facility aimed at helping individuals recovering from addiction. This new building will replace the former Alumni House, which will be demolished in the coming weeks as part of the planned campus renovations. The home itself has been renamed in honor of Sue and Curt Culver, who made a generous donation of $500,000 to support the new facility.

Sue and Curt Culver (center) join leaders from Aurora Health Care, Venture and C.G. Schmidt to officially open the Culver Alumni House.

“It is just amazing to walk through this facility,” said Curt Culver, one of the key donors to the campaign. “This truly is a home away from home for so many who need this comfort during their recovery.”

The project has a special meaning to Culver and his family as they have a loved one who has benefited from the program.

“We’ve seen first-hand how the programs here can give people who face addiction renewed hope and a second chance,” said Curt Culver. “We are proud to attach our name to this facility to help remove any stigma associated with those seeking help for substance abuse and addiction.”

The Culvers supported an earlier project, the renovation of Aurora’s Lighthouse on Dewey facility in 2013. Today, they are among several donors of the Renew, Restore, Rebuild Campaign, a $1.5 million effort to enhance planned renovations at the Aurora Behavioral Health Services campus.

“We recognize the need for addiction and recovery services is great, and donors like the Culvers are helping meet this need by not only supporting our initial plans to expand programs and services, but to continue to grow them, so more people can get the help they need as soon as possible,” said Pete Carlson, President of Aurora Behavioral Health Services.

The fundraising campaign continues and will support expanded capacity and additional therapies in planned facilities, including a new Dewey Center – a state-of-the-art facility for residential and outpatient addiction treatment services – and a Serenity Garden, both of which are under construction and slated to open in 2018.

For more information on the Renew, Restore, Rebuild Campaign, please visit or contact Judi Strout at (414) 615-5935.


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