Hope and Spirit Award Winners
On August 21, 2004, Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin hosted a celebration in honor of our Hope & Spirit award winners. These five extraordinary people overcame incredible medical odds with quiet courage and determination, to take back their lives and live them to the fullest.
Kay Bauer Kay Bauer was born with cystic fibrosis, a hereditary disease that can severely affect the respiratory, digestive and reproductive systems. Although she continued to battle the condition throughout childhood, she managed to lead a relatively normal life until her mid-twenties-in spite of having lost an older brother and sister to the illness.
Gradually, her lungs deteriorated and breathing became a nearly impossible chore. Kay knew her chances of survival were becoming slim.
But in 1998, at age 27, her life was transformed when Medical College of Wisconsin transplant surgeon George Haasler, MD and his team at Froedtert & the Medical College performed a double lung transplant. For Kay it meant not only a respite from her difficulty breathing, but also a new lease on life. In fact, the operation was so successful, she has since won medals as a runner in the Transplant Games and carried the torch in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
Today, Kay is happily married, has an active career and is a passionate promoter of organ donation.
Brenda and her husband, Tony, first came to Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin in 2000 with a dream: to have a child of their own. Despite Brenda’s serious complications from prior health conditions and surgeries, that dream came true.
With treatment, medication and successful surgery, Brenda was finally able to conceive and give birth to a healthy baby girl, Maya. Estil Strawn, MD, Medical College of Wisconsin obstetrician/gynecologist and director of the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Reproductive Medicine Clinic, nominated Brenda for the Hope & Spirit award. Says Dr. Strawn, “Brenda and her husband maintained a very positive attitude, were always willing to smile about even the grimmest of situations…”
Today, Brenda couldn’t be happier and says, “We really ran into a caring group. …Surround yourself with that kind of experience and miracles happen.”
When Martha Hella was just 18 years old, she was involved in a car crash that severely damaged her spinal cord and left her with virtually no sensation below the middle of her chest. Martha was brought to Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin where she worked tirelessly with her team of nurses, doctors and therapists to learn new skills that helped her better cope with her injury. She also became a source of inspiration to others. She joined a quadriplegic rugby team and became a peer advisor in the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Spinal Cord Injury Center.
Today, Martha lives independently, drives a car and hopes to put a degree in clinical psychology to use as a counselor when she graduates from the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater. William Waring, MD, and Joseph Cusick, MD, physicians on Martha’s medical team, say, “Martha’s story is an inspiration to anyone suffering a medical challenge.”
Judy Hartig-Osanka practiced law for 25 years. But she never dreamed she'd someday be defending her own life. In September 2001, Judy suddenly collapsed in her law office and within 48 hours was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, complicated by kidney failure and acute anemia.
She needed an immediate stem cell transplant to survive. Then began a grueling course of treatment that included dialysis and many surgeries — carefully coordinated by a treatment team led by David Vesole, MD, PhD, Medical College of Wisconsin medical oncologist/hematologist.
But today, there is good news: Judy is in remission and is once more enjoying life. Says Judy of her experience, "The Bone Marrow Transplant team and others at Froedtert & the Medical College became almost like a family. Thank goodness I could get that kind of medical care so close to home."
Married, with young children and an active family life, Jerome Buting was a successful criminal defense attorney in Wisconsin. Everything was going well until he noticed a strange pain and tightness in his right upper thigh. After a barrage of tests, all signs pointed to an aggressive cancerous tumor.
Then, while visiting Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin for a consultation, physicians also found a deep vein thrombosis — a dangerous blood clot in Jerome's thigh. The only chance to save his leg was to begin an intensive course of chemotherapy and radiation therapy before physicians could attempt surgery to remove the cancer.
Dr. Donald Hackbarth led a surgical team through an operation that required the removal of thigh muscles and veins. This made it hard for Jerome to walk and left his leg swollen. But he didn't give up. He worked diligently with doctors and therapists at the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Sports Medicine Center to regain the ability to walk. "I felt like the physicians and staff at Froedtert & Medical College truly cared about me," said Jerome.
Today, thanks to his treatment, he is back at work and continues to defend cases in front of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.