Our 2023 Recipients
Michele resides in Sheboygan Falls with her husband. She has 2 grown daughters, 1 son-in-law, and 3 dachshunds. She loves to be outside, travel and spend time with her family. In October 2022, she suffered a spontaneous subarachnoid spinal hemorrhage. Once it resolved, it left her with the diagnosis of arachnoiditis, a rare condition that is not well researched. Michele spent 13 weeks in and out of the hospital and inpatient rehabilitation, including 2 extensive spinal surgeries to help resolve her symptoms. Unfortunately, the arachnoiditis has come back again and has left her wheelchair-bound as she has no sensation from her abdomen down. The cause of all of this is unknown but Michele remains optimistic in regaining her independence in her day-to-day life.
Brenda was diagnosed with AML Leukemia on Nov 4th 2022 and admitted to the hospital right away to start chemotherapy. She did 3 months of chemotherapy and was put into remission however, AML is a nasty form of leukemia and doesn't like to stay in remission. Brenda was told her only hope for survival would be to have a bone marrow transplant which she had on May 25th 2023. What this does to a person financially is horrible. First your world is torn up with your diagnosis and then loss of income due to not being able to work. Brenda is not allowed to go back to work until Feb 2024 provided all continues to go well.
On May 29th, 2023, TJ was taking a refreshing motorcycle ride on a beautiful Memorial Day morning. During that ride he was involved in a serious motorcycle accident where he was airlifted via Flight for Life to ThedaCare Regional Medical Center, Neenah, WI. Fortunately, TJ was wearing a helmet. However, he suffered many severe injuries, including multiple rib fractures, broken bones in his neck and back, two punctured lungs, and a spinal cord injury resulting in the loss of sensation below his waist. He bravely underwent a 7.5-hour surgery that evening at ThedaCare to stabilize his spine and start his long process of healing. TJ is facing a long rehabilitation with physical therapy and occupational therapy among other services.
TJ was a member of the PHS Class of 2012 and has been involved in the Plymouth Softball Association and Gift of Life for multiple years. TJ still lives in Plymouth with his 3-year-old daughter. He has worked at Johnsonville for 10 years.
On a normal Friday morning in Sept '22, Mykaela was getting ready for school though she was tired from the track meet the night before. She got up to use the bathroom and passed out. Her mom Amy heard the thud and ran up the stairs to find out what happened. Mykaela woke up and told her mom she fell and wasn’t sure what happened. She kept trying to get up and passed out 3 more times. Amy called an ambulance and the EMT crew did 2 EKG’s and confirmed she had a heart attack. She was taken via ambulance to Grafton and then by Flight for Life to Children's Hospital. By the time we got there she was in surgery being put on Ecmo due to heart failure. She was in a coma for 4 weeks. Slowly all of her organs got better day by day.
She needed something more stable to help her heart. She was given an LVAD.; a pump that helps the right side of her heart pump as a temporary solution until she can get approved for a heart transplant. In February, she was approved for a heart transplant and she received her new heart on May 22nd. A week before her birthday.
She continues going to PT and therapy as well as weekly appointments with her Cardiac team. Mykaela has been working hard to rejoin her class this fall as a sophomore at Howards Grove. Her parents Jonathan and Amy have been by her side through it all.
Dan and his wife Tracy reside in Cascade and have been lifelong residents of the Plymouth/Cascade community. Many of you may know Dan as an avid hunter, fisherman, sports fanatic, and gardener, whose passion for the outdoors has enriched the lives of those around him. As someone who cherishes the simple joys of life, he finds solace in bird watching, and his eyes light up when he talks about his adorable grandkids.
On July 20 Dan suffered a severe stroke that impacted the left side of his brain, affecting his right movements, vision and speech. He is working hard to regain his strength and speech but has a long road ahead of him. Additionally, he is facing another surgery to address a blockage in his carotid artery. He is currently inpatient at a Rehab center in Milwaukee. Tracy remains by his side which has presented many challenges with work.