Jane Maus was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2012, at the age of 80. Pancreatic cancer is a tough diagnosis; patients don’t often live beyond six months, maybe a year or two at best. But Jane was optimistic and she was determined.
At the time of her diagnosis, Jane was dividing her time between Florida and Wisconsin, where most of her family still lives. Jane was originally diagnosed and received her early treatments at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida. She also sought opinions from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
Her son Dan says it was a difficult decision for her to come back home to Wisconsin, “She wanted to be at her home, but was torn between that desire, and her satisfaction with the care she was receiving at a world-renowned cancer institute.”
In May of 2014, Jane made the decision to come back to Wisconsin and she began seeing Antony Ruggeri, MD, an oncologist at Aurora Lakeland Medical Center. Jane and her family were very pleased with the care and treatment she was getting here at home, but they noticed some differences right away.
“The doctors and nurses were always available at Aurora. Mom felt like she was their most important patient. And the nurses were focused, compassionate and great listeners,” Dan says. For Jane and her family, it felt like the best of both worlds: advanced, high-quality treatment combined with compassionate care. She could truly be at home.
Jane lost her battle to pancreatic cancer in September of 2014, living well beyond anyone’s expectations. Dan says what resonates most with her family, was the compassionate level of care his mother received, starting with Dr. Ruggeri, “He instilled confidence by possessing this unique combination of being a leader in his field, while being one of the most thoughtful people we, as a family, have ever encountered. That treatment went beyond just medicine; his treatment was about Jane, not the cancer. And these traits are common among his staff, too.”
This confidence in care is what makes Jane’s family so excited about the Partners in Cancer Care campaign. It’s a $2.2 million community fundraising effort to help build a state-of-the-art comprehensive cancer center in western Racine and Walworth Counties.
“The new center will be an outward symbol of the skill and compassion of the staff at the Vince Lombardi Cancer Clinic at Aurora Lakeland Medical Center. Patients will have the confidence in knowing they are receiving the most advanced care, while staying close to home,” Dan explains.
You can support this exciting effort and help honor Dr. Ruggeri by attending the Benefit Ball on May 16, where proceeds benefit the Partners in Cancer Care campaign. Dr. Ruggeri has been chosen as the Honorary Chairperson for the event. Go to give.aurora.org/benefitball to purchase a ticket.
This year’s Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer, which will take place June 13 at Edgewater Park in Williams Bay, will also benefit this exciting project.
Learn more about the Partners in Cancer Care campaign at give.aurora.org/cancercenter.