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Why I Give

The French Family

The Spectrum Health Lakeland Niles Hospital expansion was made possible thanks to the generosity of several community donors, including the French family, who have been part of the Niles community for over 150 years. Please take a moment to listen to their story and learn why the they decided to become the lead donors.

Laurie Ulmer

Laurie Ulmer

The ringing of the new bell at the Marie Yeager Cancer Center is a symbol of hope for everyone to hear. Each ring marks the end of treatment for someone who has soldiered on through nausea, exhaustion, nerve pain, and more as they undergo chemotherapy, radiation, and other therapies to battle cancer. It was the generosity of Laurie Ulmer, and her community at Christ Lutheran School, who made the sound of the bell possible.

Laurie, a kindergarten teacher, is not only a donor but also a patient. She underwent treatment at the Marie Yaeger Cancer Center for breast cancer, which was found after a routine mammogram.

“Every time that I’ve come here, I’ve made friends,” said Laurie. “They are my chemo friends. The care and compassion of everyone is amazing.”

It was after one of her chemotherapy sessions that she wanted to ensure that no one felt alone. And, the desire to do something special for her friends and care team at the cancer center. Although Laurie was going through her own extensive cancer treatments, she and her village of family, friends and students at Christ Lutheran School embarked upon a fundraising effort to make the thought of the bell turn into a reality.

Why did Laurie give? For two reasons, first, for the person finishing their chemotherapy, it is a huge accomplishment, and it needs to be celebrated. Second, Laurie wants her students to know they can make a difference. It does not matter how old or young you are. She believes that bell is going to touch a lot of people’s lives.

The Marie Yeager Cancer Center makes it possible for patients and their families to go to just one facility for the majority of their cancer care needs. The highly trained staff are dedicated to providing the patient with the education, information, compassion, and support they need.

If you would like to give the gift of hope and support the Marie Yeager Cancer Center or any of our other campaigns, please click here to donate


Anna and Rick Murphy

smiling couple standing under advertisement for a musicalFoundation board member Anna Murphy has been through thick and thin with her husband Rick, as they faced his kidney cancer diagnosis five years ago and his ongoing heart issues with atrial fibrillation. Through it all, health concerns have been a constant, but so has Spectrum Health Lakeland.

Because atrial fibrillation can happen anytime, Rick’s visits to the Lakeland Medical Center emergency department are unpredictable, but the care he has received has been consistently excellent. Each time, the couple has noticed how this eases both their nerves and their worries. 

“When he goes in, he’s not as nervous, because he knows he’s in really good hands,” said Anna. “Each time it’s been different physicians and nurses and techs and they all have a really awesome way of putting the patient first.”

Anna went on to share how having a high comfort level with the emergency department is also important for those with the patient.

“Whether you’re a caregiver, child, or significant other of the loved one being taken care of, it gives peace of mind,” said Anna. “For me as a wife, caring doctors and nurses make it a lot easier during a time I’m already feeling concerned.”

That care was clear from the start, when Rick begin experiencing issues with his heart.

“Early on, one ER doctor at Lakeland told us how he also had atrial fibrillation and helped us understand that it can happen to anyone,” said Anna. “It was reassuring to have the doctor tell us how other people go through it and live with it just fine. That doctor shared his own story to ease the mind of his patient.”

As Rick has learned to manage his condition, ER visits have lessened for the couple. But knowing that they can rely on excellent care whenever they might need it is important and something they hope to share with others.

“Overall, it’s about feeling cared for,” said Anna. “Each time we’ve gone to the ER, their compassion and knowledge has created a calm, comfortable visit for us.”