Corewell Health is the new name for Lakeland. Learn More
One Unified System of Care: Find out how we’re creating a better experience and updating your MyChart. Learn More

Patient Honors Parents

Patient Finds Unique Way to Honor Parents and Help Marie Yeager Cancer Center  

kurt schneseWhen Kurt Schnese returned to his native southwest Michigan to care for his ailing father three years ago, he was pleasantly surprised to see how far his hometown health system had come. Through his career in architecture and design, Kurt had been involved with major healthcare projects all over the country – and the Marie Yeager Cancer Center in St. Joseph compared favorably to the best of them.

“I’ve expressed to people how fortunate we are to have a world-class cancer center, just like what a lot of the big cities are doing,” Kurt said. “It’s something that we should all be extremely proud of, and happy we have here.”

Kurt’s father, Frank, lost his battle with blood disease, but the family will never forget the care he received from Edmund Paloyan, MD, Medical Director of Oncology Services at Lakeland Health, and the entire cancer center team.

“Dad was treated with amazing respect and care at the cancer center,” Kurt said. “When I am there, the nurses all remember dad, and we sit and talk about what a great person he was.”

After his father’s experience, Kurt had no hesitation trusting the Marie Yeager Cancer Center when he was diagnosed with stage four lymphoma in August 2014. Kurt completed six months of chemotherapy in June 2015, and credits his positive attitude with helping him make the best of the situation.

“You appreciate the little things a bit more, like when I come home to my dog, Benjamin, after a long day,” Kurt said. “The experience has made me understand what’s really important.”

With that perspective, Kurt began thinking about how he could give back to the cancer center, and how he could honor the philanthropic legacy of his parents, Frank and Sally. Kurt recalled that when his mother had a stroke in 1983, his father began donating his time as a Lakeland volunteer to express his gratitude to the hospital.

“I had a good example in my upbringing,” Kurt said. “My parents were always thinking about giving back to other people.”

With the help of friend, Robin Zollar, who’s involved with estate sales, Kurt came up with a plan to make the most of the art, furniture, and antiques he had collected over his lifetime. Instead of leaving a monetary gift to the Marie Yeager Cancer in his will, he arranged for his most valuable belongings to be sold at a special event.

“When Kurt came to us with this idea, we thought it was a very thoughtful way to help the cancer center, and would help raise a lot of awareness in the community,” said David Burghart, Vice President of Philanthropy and President of Lakeland Health Foundations. “Every donation can make a huge impact on the care Lakeland provides for our friends and neighbors.”

See Kurt's Story

Continue Watching

Physician Profile Video: Jeffrey Grondin, M.D. (Pulmonary & Critical Care)

Jeffrey Grondin, M.D. says the best part of his job is being able to change people’s lives, because when someone is struggling with a breathing issue, it can significantly impact their quality of life.

Patricia McCarthy, N.P. (Pulmonary & Critical Care)

Patricia McCarty’s, N.P., wide range of patient management experience enables her to connect with patients to understand the root causes of their condition and find solutions.

Check-up: The importance of screening for lung cancer (Jeffrey Grondin, MD)

Pulmonary and critical care specialist Jeffrey Grondin, MD, Corewell Health explains the importance of lung cancer screening for those at risk.

Check-up: Removing cancer with surgery (Nathan Piovesan, MD)

Cancer care can involve surgery done by a general surgeon to either remove cancer or to do diagnostic surgery to identify what a tumor is.

Check-up: Detect lung cancer early (Kenlyn Laureys, NP)

Nurse practitioner Kenlyn Laureys in the high-risk cancer program at Corewell Health explains that if you are identified as being at high risk for lung cancer your doctor can refer you to receive a lung cancer screening.

Check-up: Cutting out colon cancer with surgery (Benjamin Sopczynski, MD)

General surgeon Benjamin Sopczynski, MD, explains what a colectomy is and how it can be used to remove colon cancer. Minimally invasive surgery is used to make this procedure less invasive with quicker healing times.

Corewell Health - We Can

What can we do together? Can we beat the unbeatable? Can we achieve the unthinkable? Can we reach our health goals? And accomplish even more along the way? Can we live healthier, fuller, happier lives? With Corewell Health, we can.

Provider Video Profile: Kenlyn Laureys, NP (Oncology)

Nurse Practitioner Kenlyn Laureys cares for patients getting cancer infusion treatments in Niles, Michigan.

Breast Cancer: Nancy Pallas "3D approach to care"

At age 79, Dowagiac resident, Nancy Pallas, decided to opt for a 3D mammogram, which was able to detect a stage 1A tumor. Her care team quickly assembled to help her beat the cancer.

Prostate cancer: Martin Dixon "Put to the test"

Retired engineer Martin Dixon takes a matter of fact, analytical approach to life. So, when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, he faced his treatment with the same outlook.

Copyright © 2024 Corewell Health. All rights reserved.