Giving premature babies a chance to survive and thrive
In 1989, Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital became a member of a relatively new charity called Children’s Miracle Network (CMN). The hospital agreed to fund CMN’s operating expenses to raise the funds so that donors could be assured that 100% of their donation went to the benefit of children in north central Wisconsin.
Twenty years later, Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital continues that tradition of underwriting the cost to raise funds for Children’s Miracle Network. As a result, hundreds of programs are funded, providing support for children and their families, preventing injuries, providing essential transport equipment for ambulance services and fire departments, and funding life-saving equipment within Ministry Saint Joseph’s Children’s Hospital.
One of the families featured that very first year during the Children’s Miracle Network telethon on WAOW TV-9 was Lesley Spychalla, daughter of Lance and Celeste Spychalla of Rothschild. Born approximately four months early, Lesley weighed just 1 pound, 8 ounces. As she struggled to breathe on her own, the monitoring of her oxygen levels seemed endless. Lesley spent 3 months in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Ministry Saint Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. Lesley also experienced low muscle tone in her legs, but she was a fighter. She continued to improve and gain strength to catch up developmentally to children her age.
Thanks to the technology in the NICU and the staff that cared for her, Lesley graduated from DC Everest Senior High School, where she competed in cross country and track and was a member of the National Honor Society. She is currently attending the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where she is majoring in English.
Over the past two decades, more than $8.5 million has been raised through Children’s Miracle Network at Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield. These funds have provided help and support to countless children and their families in north central Wisconsin. Donors throughout the years have been committed to investing in the lives of children of all ages - from tiny newborns like Lesley to teenage patients battling cancer.