By Beth Tjernagel
My 38-year-old husband, Phil, has a brain tumor. I just wanted to share an amazing experience we had thanks to ThedaCare’s Community Hospice Foundation and its Hopes and Dreams program.
The special surprise began with me taking Phil outside in his wheelchair, but with his back towards the driveway. Outside, I could see two cars coming down our street in Appleton and told him that I knew one of his dreams was to go to the Mecum auto auction. I told Phil I was sorry we never got to go, but that I knew one of his favorite cars was a 1970 Camaro. I asked him if he would want to ride in one and turned him around. Phil started crying when he saw the 1970 Camaro driven by John Bergstrom and a 1970 Corvette driven by Tim Bergstrom in front of our house. Looking at me, Phil simply said “Baby, thank you so much. I love you!”
John Bergstrom, chairman and CEO of the Bergstrom Corp., and an Emeritus Trustee member of the Theda Clark Medical Center Foundation Fund, asked Phil if he wanted to go for a ride and Phil quickly responded “yes” before asking me to go with him. The smile on Phil’s face was priceless while we went for a ride in his dream car. In the car, he turned around again to thank me with tears of happiness running down his cheeks.
Next, Tim Bergstrom, president of the Bergstrom Corp., and also a Trustee of the Theda Clark Medical Center Foundation Fund, asked if he wanted to go for a ride in the Corvette. Phil said “of course” with a huge smile on his face. John Bergstrom drove, and as John revved up the engine and flew down the street, I knew Phil was one happy passenger. He also gave a toy Corvette to our daughter, Riley. She hasn’t let that car out of her sight and even hugged it in her sleep.
Throughout the day, Phil kept thanking me and saying what an amazing day it was. He told me, “I know who the Bergstroms are and for them to come and do this for me really means so much to me.”
We want to thank everyone who made Phil’s dream come true: the ThedaCare Community Hospice Foundation for organizing the visit; John Bergstrom for giving Phil a ride in his dream car; Tim Bergstrom for bringing happiness to our family and Riley’s new car; Julie Genett for always being there for us; and the stranger from Omro who let us use his new car. Your kindness to make a stranger’s dream come true overwhelms us with pure happiness. We also want to thank Phil’s great medical providers: neurosurgeon Dr. Tom Wascher and his nurse practitioner David Bond; and cancer care providers Drs. Jack Swanson, Nathan Munson and Xin Yao.
Throughout the day Phil kept on thanking me and saying “This day was great! It was so amazing.” Seeing Phil so happy is truly priceless. The whole day was an amazing success and at the end of the day, Phil said, “You really love me so much.” Simple whisper with tears from both of us: “Yes, I do.”