Join a Lombardi Walk to #TackleCancer and help people like Sandy get their lives back

SHEBOYGAN – Like a lot of daughters, Sandy Flipse Claerbout has a history of breast cancer in her family. Her mother is a breast cancer survivor, but never had to go through treatment.

Sandy’s situation was different. After being diagnosed with breast cancer herself, her treatment included a lumpectomy, a lymph node biopsy, 16 rounds of chemotherapy and 33 rounds of radiation. For Sandy, the side effects of treatment were minimal – she felt some fatigue, but never got really sick. It made losing her hair that much more bearable.

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Sandy and her daughter, Stephanie, at graduation in May 2017

The biggest impact

It’s not the treatment or side effects Sandy remembers first. It’s the expert care she received from Dr. Judy Tjoe, who performed her biopsy, and the compassionate care she received at the Vince Lombardi Cancer Clinic at Aurora Cancer Care in Sheboygan.

“Everyone there makes the best of a bad situation,” Sandy said. “From my oncologist, Dr. Kumar, to the nurses who administered my chemotherapy, I felt close to all of them.”

Her nurse navigator even sent her a card while she was undergoing treatment. Her caregivers made sure to stop by for a visit to see how she was doing, and they were always ready to help. Sandy never felt like she was interrupting or taking up too much of their time.

“In fact,” she admitted, “Ending treatment is bittersweet. You’re thrilled it’s over. But then you wonder, ‘When will I see these great people again?’”

Giving back

Like many survivors, Sandy wanted to find a way to help others who are fighting cancer. She walked last year with her 21-year-old daughter in Sheboygan’s first ever Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer. She did well fundraising, so it was a way to give back to those at the clinic who gave her so much.

“The great thing about the walk was I got to see my caregivers again.”

She’s planning to walk this year to say thanks again and to reconnect with the team that saved her life.

“Everyone at Aurora is so fabulous,” she concluded. “They are angels on earth.”

LCRF_Logos_AllLocations_fnl-Sheboygan-ColorHow you can help

Sign up for one of 10 Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer events near you. Money raised will support local cancer care and research initiatives by Aurora Cancer Care and is eligible 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 LombardiWalk.org.

Posted in Cancer care, Fundraising Events, Lombardi Walks to Tackle Cancer, Uncategorized, Women's Health | Leave a comment

#TackleCancer in memory of “the Lioness”

GREEN BAY – Linda Moudry is on a mission.

Over the past two years, she’s raised almost $20,000 for the Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer. That’s a lot of money for a single person to raise, but it’s not the dollar amount that motivates her to make a difference.

It all started when her best friend Kay was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. Kay was 44 years old and the prognosis wasn’t good; nine of 11 lymph nodes were affected. But as Linda recalls, “Kay was a fighter. She did well with her chemo. She did go into remission.”

Pg 4-5 Linda Moudry

Linda (left), Kay (right) and their feline friend.

But this wouldn’t be Kay’s last battle with cancer.

Years later, she was diagnosed with lung and liver cancer. Kay was a smoker and was told the cancer was a result of her habit. To make matters worse, it had spread to her brain and she had to have radiation therapy. Her care team at the Vince Lombardi Cancer Clinic in Green Bay stayed strong and was always there for her, from her radiation oncologist to her cancer nurse navigators.

“They got answers for me when we were at home and I knew something was wrong,” said Linda. “I know there are places reserved in heaven for people like them, who do so much to help others.”

Linda was also deeply grateful for Kay’s Aurora Cancer Care oncologist, Umang Gautam, MD.

“We had a wonderful relationship with him. He’s a very kind and compassionate man who is also a good listener.”

Kay fought the good fight for 20 months. Dr. Gautam even had a nickname for her: “the Lioness.” “I will always remember that,” Linda recalled. “And he tells it like it is.”

Linda Moudry at the 2016 Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer in Green Bay

Is Linda planning to walk again this year? Absolutely. And “determined” doesn’t even begin to describe her fundraising efforts. She isn’t afraid to ask for donations in person or send requests by mail. She’ll even pay for their return postage.

“All they had to do was drop the check in the envelope and mail it back to me,” she said. “I also included a business card that read, ‘You Make a Difference.’”

Kay’s battle with cancer isn’t the only one that has touched Linda’s life and left a profound impact.

“Many of my friends have been affected by this terrible disease,” she said.

And she’s taking it upon herself to strike back.

“Nothing will change if we all sit back and wait for someone else to do something about it.”

How you can help

LCRF_Logos_AllLocations_fnl-GreenBay-Color

Sign up for one of 10 Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer events near you. Money raised will support local cancer care and research initiatives by Aurora Cancer Care and is eligible 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 LombardiWalk.org.

Posted in Cancer care, Lombardi Walks to Tackle Cancer, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Join Lynda and #TackleCancer in Kenosha with courage and hope

Lynda Ruffolo, born and raised in Kenosha, has worked in healthcare for more than 20 years. She is a registered nurse at Aurora Medical Center Kenosha and worked in the oncology department for over eight years.

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Lynda and her granddaughter, Noel

“People often say, ‘Wow that must be difficult.’ Of course some days are, but what keeps me coming back is what my patients have taught me,” she said. “They have shown me what courage, hope, determination and love looks like in the face of adversity.”

Lynda decided to join the Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer because her co-workers committed to having a team, the Kenosha Cancer Kickers. Not only did Lynda walk, but she was a team captain.

“During the fall, a patient that supported our efforts lost his battle. He was one of the fiercest warriors I ever met. It was then I decided to continue to carry out the team captain position for the coming years.”

Lynda believes participating as a team is a visible way to show her patients and their families that they are all in this together!

LCRF_Logos_AllLocations_fnl-Kenosha-ColorHow you can help 

Sign up for one of 10 Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer events near you. Money raised will support local cancer care and research initiatives by Aurora Cancer Care and is eligible 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 LombardiWalk.org.

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How an Oshkosh surgeon “put a cork” in cancer

Dr. Patrick Daly and his wife, Gina

Patrick Daly, MD, is a general surgeon at Aurora Health Center in Oshkosh. He has operated on many cancer patients throughout his career, but the impact of this horrible disease really hit home in May 2015. That’s when Gina, Dr. Daly’s wife, was diagnosed with sarcoma.

“She was stretching one day and noticed a lump in her leg. The mass had gotten big enough to where it herniated. It had been growing quietly for a while,” Dr. Daly explained.

Gina has undergone several rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, and just had surgery to put a rod in her femur earlier this year. Dr. Daly is a surgeon, who is used to helping patients get better. But this time the person in need of care was his own wife, and he wasn’t able help in the operating room. So instead, he came up with a fundraiser to not only lift Gina’s spirits but to also help other local cancer patients like her. He came up with the idea to “Put a Cork in Cancer.”

“We purchased food and then selected about ten different wines from different regions, with different flavors  and styles. There was no fee for attending but everyone knew there would be an ask for donations,” Dr. Daly explained.

Around 40 people, including Dr. Daly’s neighbors, colleagues and Oshkosh business leaders, attended the fundraiser last fall. Together, they raised more than $12,000 for the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation. And thanks to the Foundation’s program of matching gifts by 50 percent, around $18,000 will go to the Vince Lombardi Cancer Clinic in Oshkosh, which supports Aurora Cancer Care patients.

For Dr. Daly and Gina, keeping it local was important, “Sometimes if you donate to a big organization you don’t necessarily have a handle on where the money goes. We wanted to keep it here, we know the people here. I also wanted us all to relax and get to know each other better, because you just never know what tomorrow may bring.”

You can support Aurora Cancer Care patients in your community  at one of ten Lombardi Walks to Tackle Cancer this June and July. Start your team today and register now at LombardiWalk.org. 

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How you can help people like Anne live the life they want

At the age of 82, Anne*, a lifelong Grafton resident and retired registered nurse, was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Her oncologist recommended cancer treatments; Anne complied. The treatments left her more uncomfortable than she wanted. So she decided to stop.

“My mom’s a tough bird,” said her daughter, Kathy. “She’s always been headstrong; she’s always been confident she could make things work out no matter the circumstance.

New plan, new way

Matthaeus

Dr. William Matthaeus

One of Anne’s physicians referred her to William Matthaeus, MD, a palliative care specialist with Aurora Health Care. “My mother no longer wanted active treatment and didn’t know if palliative care was the next step,” Kathy said. “Dr. Matthaeus worked with us closely on the next steps that would help my mom maintain her quality of life.”

It turned out that palliative care was just what the family needed. Palliative care manages the needs and goals of those living with chronic or serious illnesses at the time of diagnosis. By providing an added layer of support based on the understanding of the patient as a whole – not a disease or a symptom – the palliative care team helps patients and their family achieve their very best quality of life every day in a patient centric, family engaged care plan.

And it’s an important – and ongoing – conversation. Kathy and Anne see Dr. Matthaeus about every four weeks to talk about Anne’s medications, anxiety and pain.

“As a retired RN, my mom knows what great care is,” Kathy said. “She feels fortunate to have such a compassionate doctor caring for her.”

Why palliative care is important

“I think we as physicians are very good at tackling health issues, and helping patients live well,” Dr. Matthaeus said. “But ‘live well’ could mean something different to every patient.”

That’s why palliative care is a key point in the care continuum for those with chronic health challenges. While a course of treatment may mitigate a condition, it may not match a patient’s particular goals. And that can interfere with quality of life.

“The patient’s goals are at the center of what we do because the patient, like Anne, is at the center of what we do,” Dr. Matthaeus continued.

Kathy agreed that this approach made an enormous difference in the family’s life. “My siblings and I share the responsibility for taking care of my mom,” she said. But Dr. Matthaeus is my lifeline.”

How you can help patients like Anne get the care they need
LWO
When you attend Live Well Ozaukee on Aug. 25, you help benefit palliative care initiatives, making it more available to patients in the community who want to explore all their care options. Learn more, purchase tickets and donate when you CLICK HERE.

 


*Last name and photo excluded for privacy.

Posted in Cancer care, Live Well Ozaukee, palliative care, patient-centered care, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How YOUR GIFTS are making a difference for those fighting cancer

When you ask people if they’ve been affected by cancer, chances are few would say no. At Aurora Health Care, our donors are passionate about making a difference in the lives of those battling this horrible disease. In fact, one in three gifts to Aurora Health Care Foundation last year were directed to support the amazing work led by Aurora Cancer Care in communities across our system. We work closely with our cancer care leaders to help identify ways to make the best care available close to home. Together, we raise funds for the following areas that are imperative for patient success:

  • Support fellowships in surgical oncology, so we can continue to train some of the best physicians at Aurora on the latest techniques in their area of care.
  • Provide dollars for Cancer Research Awards – annual seed dollars provided to Aurora Health Care physicians and scientists across our system who are leading local cancer research.
  • Support for local survivorship programs and integrative medicine therapies at our cancer clinics – such as acupuncture, reiki and massage therapy – to help patients during and after times of care.
  • Continued funding for our Spanish Speaking Clinic at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center, the only clinic of its kind in the state providing care for people who prefer care in a Spanish-speaking environment.

Santana Dotson will be back as our 2017 Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer Chairperson. You can see him at the Lombardi Walk/Run to Tackle Cancer in Milwaukee on July 22.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Lombardi Walk/Run to Tackle Cancer in Milwaukee, and for close to that entire time, the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation has dedicated its fundraising exclusively to support Aurora Cancer Care. As our largest donor for oncology services, the Foundation has been instrumental in supporting key technologies and advancements at Aurora, including Cyberknife technology, a unique Healing Garden at Aurora St. Luke’s Medical Center that overlooks the Milwaukee skyline, specialized cancer nurse navigators and breakthrough neurosciences research.

You can be a part of transforming cancer care locally by joining a Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer near you! This year we have expanded our walks to ten locations. All funds raised will receive a 50% match from the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation and will support Aurora Cancer Care services in the communities where they were raised. Learn more and register at LombardiWalk.org.

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#TackleCancer to help people like Sherry live well

OSHKOSH – Sherry Loderbauer is the firm manager of a small law office in Appleton. So when she was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer in October 2015, she marshaled all of her strength to focus on completing her tasks.

“I needed my company, and the work, too. It helped motivate me,” Sherry explained. Then she laughed. “It also helped distract me from feeling sick!”

Pg 4-5 Sherry L

Sherry (left) with her nurse navigator, Karen at the 2016 Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer in Oshkosh

Another thing that helped distract her? The caring treatment she received from Aurora Cancer Care in Oshkosh. After an unpleasant experience at another medical facility, she was happy to find a good fit with her new surgeon at Aurora.

“I cannot say enough about Dr. Peter Johnson,” she said. “He is an awesome surgeon and goes out of his way to assist whenever and however he can. He is extremely knowledgeable and has a great bedside manner.”

Sherry has high praise for other members of her care team as well, including oncologist Shamsuddin Virani, MD, and Karen Garwood, RN.

“Dr. Virani and Karen, who I think has been there for 30 years, just took me under their wing, caring for me at such a critical point in my life,” she described. “Karen did the treatments. She was extremely reliable and made me feel completely at ease. She played a huge role in my treatment and I will forever be grateful to her! And every time I went in, there were granola bars, cookies…it was so welcoming.”

In fact, Sherry was so impressed by Karen’s work and compassion that she nominated her for a Daisy Award, a national recognition given to extraordinary nurses. Karen won the award and Sherry attended the ceremony.

“It was great to be there with her to celebrate.”

Giving back

After finishing her second round of chemotherapy last April, Sherry signed up for the Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer in Oshkosh, creating a team of 15 that raised $1,500.

“It was an awesome time for our entire family. And every week or so, I’d update my Caring Bridge site with my condition,” she explained. “I also included a link to the Lombardi Walk site so it was really easy for people to donate. It worked great!”

This year, she’s getting the gang together to tackle cancer again at the same walk.

“My whole family’s been affected by cancer, so we’re all touched that we participate together,” Sherry said. “Everyone has a different experience with cancer. But we have a common bond that we can celebrate.”

It’s been more than a year since Sherry’s last chemo treatment. So far, the cancer, which usually recurs within three years, has not made a comeback. Now she is staying busy and has even managed to find a silver lining in everything that’s happened to her.

“I can honestly say that one of the best things that has come out of my cancer diagnosis is the wonderful people that I have met and been treated by along the way. Aurora played a huge part in this.”

LCRF_Logos_AllLocations_fnl-Oshkosh-ColorHow you can help

Sign up for one of 10 Lombardi Walk to Tackle Cancer events near you. Money raised will support local cancer care and research initiatives by Aurora Cancer Care and is eligible 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 LombardiWalk.org.

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