The pandemic has been extremely difficult for all of us, but it’s been especially challenging for patients dealing with a cancer diagnosis and treatment. As a social worker at the Reiman Cancer Center – Ascension St. Francis, Gina Habrle, develops close relationships with her patients. While monitoring patient care through assessments and advocating for resources, Gina learns what issues patients struggle with and helps them overcome barriers while on their cancer healing journey.
Gina describes one special patient from Milwaukee, Sylvia Ratzke, as a spark plug. “She just has a light about her, a big personality and an infectious smile,” said Gina. Sylvia’s cancer diagnosis and the pandemic made it impossible for her to continue working as a waitress and she needed some financial help. Gina was able to help Sylvia receive funds from Ascension Wisconsin Foundation’s Hope Fund and Sylvia was extremely grateful. But Gina didn’t stop there, she also learned about the This Time Tomorrow Foundation and its Random Acts of Kindness program and decided to nominate Sylvia.
Gina’s nomination was accepted and together the foundation, Gina and Sylvia’s son planned a surprise to share the great news with her.
On a beautiful fall afternoon in the Reiman Cancer Center healing garden, Sylvia was presented with a $3,000 check to help with her living expenses while she continued her cancer treatment.
The money will ease some financial pressure and anxiety and help her focus on healing. Sylvia was unable to speak due to recent surgery but she put her hands to her heart and wept grateful tears to express her thanks for Gina's efforts.