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June 13, 2019


Husband Remembers Wife’s Care Through Cardiac Rehab

June 13, 2019


Husband Remembers Wife’s Care Through Cardiac Rehab

WAUPACA, Wis. — Late in their marriage, Dennis Callewaert of Redgranite and his wife, Christine, worked as a team through a number of her health issues—rheumatoid arthritis, COPD, lung cancer, blood clots, immune thrombocytopenia, pneumonia and leukemia.

When it became clear that leukemia would claim her life, Christine and Dennis decided to have their civil wedding convalidated in the Catholic Church.

“This was a bucket list item,” said Dennis. “I believe it kept her strong.”

Dennis and Christine’s Catholic Convalidation Wedding Ceremony was Nov. 29, 2018. Christine passed away less than two months later, on Jan. 23, 2019. Dennis wanted to honor Christine with a memorial gift. He chose to direct the memorial gift to the area that had helped them the most—the ThedaCare Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Group in Waupaca.

Christine had sustained radiation treatment for lung cancer on top of suffering COPD, and later developed blood clots, requiring twice-weekly exercise and monitoring sessions with the rehab group. The group is led by Stephanie Yenter, a registered nurse and cardiac and pulmonary rehab coordinator at ThedaCare Medical Center-Waupaca.

“The 18-week session helped improve mobility, nutrition and managed anxiety,” explained Dennis. “Christine received an additional 18 weeks of rehab following pneumonia.”

In these sessions, the Callewaerts continued to work together as a team.

“It did a lot for me, too, because I learned more about Chris’s disease and I was a better caregiver because of it,” Dennis said. “The ThedaCare team deserved recognition and support for all the help and care they provided her.”

Through the generosity of Dennis, along with their family and friends, more than $1,200 was donated in Christine’s memory to the ThedaCare Foundation-Waupaca Healthy Neighborhood Fund, which supports a variety of patient care initiatives including the rehabilitation gym where Christine spent time working out.

“Christine loved baking cookies for Christmas and was an avid crafter, with a large crafting room full of supplies,” recalls Dennis. “She also loved helping her community.”

She was instrumental in launching library crafting groups both in Redgranite and Wild Rose. Dennis has plans to invite her friends to come and collect yarn and crafting items that had belonged to Chris, while keeping other items of hers on display throughout their home.

“I told her when she was dying that I would miss her, and I’ll always remember her, and that’s what I want to do,” Dennis said. “She’ll always be here in spirit, and offering this gift is a part of honoring her memory.”

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

About ThedaCare

For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast and Central Wisconsin. The organization serves a community of more than 600,000 residents and employs more than 6,700 healthcare professionals throughout the regions. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose as well as 31 clinics in nine counties. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service.

For more information, visit or follow ThedaCare on Facebook and Twitter.

Media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public Relations Specialist at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.