'It just makes sense for us'
Mark and Denise Nicholson
Mark and Denise Nicholson
Six years ago, Mark was diagnosed with Pompe disease, a rare neuromuscular disorder. "We were in the right place at the right time," says Denise, nursing system specialist in Advanced Care Planning. "Mark was diagnosed early. For some people it takes years for the right diagnosis."
In what Denise calls a "Godwink," Gundersen has a neuromuscular specialist, Michael Leone, MD, who knows this rare disorder. While there's no cure, Mark is receiving specialty care at Gundersen to slow the disease's progression. It has kept him out of a wheelchair for six years and given Mark the best possible quality of life.
The Nicholsons have donated to Gundersen Medical Foundation for the new hospital and to support Children's Miracle Network Hospitals®. "We give back because we are grateful and we know our gifts stay here. It's a no brainer—it just makes sense for us," says Denise.
Inspired by compassionate care
Bob Mahr, Information Systems
"At Gundersen we are united through a commitment to patients. A faulty piece of equipment or a network issue can disrupt or delay care; I won't be the weak link," says Bob, an IS support specialist.
In 2010, Bob began donating to Gundersen Medical Foundation's Campus Renewal Campaign through payroll deductions. Just a few years later, that impact hit close to home when his wife, Carol, was diagnosed with cancer and spent time in the new hospital.
When it became clear the cancer was too advanced, Carol's wish was to spend her final days at home. Gundersen's hospice program made that possible. "We had the support we needed to take care of Carol. We would never have been able to do it on our own," remembers Bob.
Carol's memorial funds were directed to the Foundation's Hospice Fund. Bob shares, "A gift to the Foundation helps others. What a perfect complement to Carol's legacy of generosity."
Gifts that give twice
Dana Mason, BSW, Hospice and Bereavement Services
Gundersen Medical Foundation has helped Hospice patients and families in so many ways. For example, the Foundation has help finance equipment needs for patients and even airfare to get a dying patient back home to their family. But it's some of the smaller gifts that have had the biggest impacts.
"The Foundation gave us a grant to buy yarn that our volunteers use to make comfort shawls for our patients," Dana explains. "The soft knitted shawls keep patients warm and comforted. Once the patient, who is on hospice, has completed their life journey the shawl stays with the family. The shawl then provides the family with physical comfort and loving memories whenever they need it."
Dana adds, "Every day we see the many ways the Foundation supports both our Hospice and Bereavement programs. We can't thank you enough for that."
Better care for patients because of the generosity of others
Amber Parker, Certified Hemodialysis Technician
When patients have kidney disease advanced enough to require dialysis, their lives are literally in the hands of those who care for them—people like Amber Parker, a certified renal hemodialysis tech.
Continuing education is an important requirement of Amber's job. "I get a lot of hands-on training through my job, but I'm required to take training outside Gundersen, too. But conference and travel expenses are difficult on my own," says Amber.
Luckily for staff like Amber, Gundersen Medical Foundation offers grant money for continuing professional education.
"I'm learning from some of the best in my field, it opens my mind to new ideas, and I return with best practices that can make a difference in the care of our patients," says Amber. "I'm honored the Foundation sees the value in giving me this opportunity."
I feel the impact my donations make
Lynda Privet, RN, Pediatric Specialties
Lynda's passion for people and purpose connects her to Gundersen Medical Foundation. Working with children and families, some overwhelmed by medical crises, inspired Lynda to make her first gift.
When serious health problems struck her family Lynda gained a deeper understanding of the Foundation's impact. Supporting medical education and research helped ensure her family had access to the best care. So when Lynda was invited to support the Foundation through employee payroll deduction, she didn't hesitate to sign up.
Lynda shares, "I give because I believe in Gundersen. The Foundation supports who we are and what we do. I often see the impact my donation makes, but even when I don't, I know it's there. I feel the difference."
These are just four examples of employees who are making a difference in the lives of patients and who, in turn, are benefitting from this generosity.
And so it comes full circle.