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Berlin couple married
February 2, 2023

Berlin Couple Married as Final Wish of Patient

ThedaCare’s Hopes & Dreams Program Provides Memories for Families

Chris Schultz already felt as if she were married to her longtime partner, Harold. The Berlin couple had been together for more than 13 years. However, they had never made it official with a wedding ceremony.

“We wanted to get married,” said Chris. “Life gets busy and we just never got around to it.”

Having a wedding became a priority for the couple once Harold, who was 81, was placed on hospice care. Chris said Harold had cancer, among other health concerns.

Understanding the importance of this day for the family, ThedaCare social worker, Brittany Scheberl, recommend connecting with the ThedaCare Hopes & Dreams Program. Made possible by generous support of donors to the ThedaCare Family of Foundations, this program was created to enrich the lives of patients in hospice care by creating lasting memories and granting final wishes.

“Having a loved one enter end-of-life care can be an emotional and stressful time for any family,” said Sarah Lederer, a ThedaCare Social Worker who also supported the effort. “We want to help families experience special moments, like this wedding. It is just one way to help alleviate some of the stress for families, and create an exceptional experience.”

On December 7, 2022, Chris and Harold were married at their home.

The Hopes & Dreams Program helped provide a photographer for the ceremony, a meal and a wedding cake. Volunteer, Karla, also helped Chris and Harold select flowers.

“It meant a lot that the Hopes & Dreams team helped us plan the wedding,” said Chris. “I did not have the time to do that. They did a nice job organizing and coordinating everything for us.”

Chris said she will cherish those memories forever. 

“It was one of Harold’s better days,” explained Chris. “The photos received were beautiful. He looked so great. You would not even know he was sick.”

It was a small ceremony where the couple was surrounded by family.

“It was a special day,” said Chris. “We finally took that step. We were happy and excited that some of our family could be there to see it happen.”

Just days later, on December 13, 2022, Harold passed away. As Chris reflects on their ceremony, it brings her joy to know Harold was granted one last wish.

“I think he was very happy,” she said. “He wanted this for a long time. It gave him peace of mind.”

Chris also has advice for others who might find themselves in a similar situation, where a loved one is experiencing a serious illness.

“I would tell people to enjoy life, no matter how many days they have left,” she said. “It is never too late to have your happy ending.”

To learn more about the ThedaCare Family of Foundations and the impact of donor support, or donate, please visit or email

On December 7, 2022, Chris and Harold Schultz were married at their home in Berlin. The ThedaCare Hopes & Dreams Program helped make the special day possible.

About ThedaCare

For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to improving the health and well-being of the communities it serves in Northeast and Central Wisconsin. The organization delivers care to more than 600,000 residents in 17 counties and employs approximately 7,000 health care professionals. ThedaCare has 180 points of care, including eight hospitals. As an organization committed to being a leader in Population Health, team members are dedicated to empowering people to live their unique, best lives. ThedaCare also partners with communities to understand needs, finding solutions together, and encouraging health awareness and action. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts about a patient’s care. ThedaCare is proud to partner with Children’s Wisconsin and Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network to enhance convenient access to the most advanced levels of specialty care. ThedaCare is a not-for-profit health system with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs, as well as primary care.

For more information, visit or follow ThedaCare on social media. Members of the media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public and Media Relations Consultant at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.