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SPONSORED: Neillsville couple promote care close to home, donate infusion suite in new Marshfield Clinic Center

Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 8:25 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - It is so important for cancer patients to be comfortable with their care. It’s even better when that care happens close to home.

After just a few months of being engaged, Andy Johnson and Julie Simek had another life-altering event happen.

“I had a muscle in my shoulder that wouldn’t relax for four or five days,” said Johnson. “I went to Urgent Care and they took and x-ray and found my fifth vertabrae had compressed.”

Johnson was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in January.

“I spent 14 hours in surgery getting metal put into my neck and a cadaver bone and getting that fixed,” said Johnson. “Then, I had four months of treatments and four rounds of chemotherapy, and then a stem cell transplant, and looking to get into remission.”

“We just decided not to wait and we got married in May,” said Simek.

These Neillsville newlyweds have already faced some of the toughest tests in a relationship. They’ve learned a lot of about what it means to have care close to home.

“Between thoughts of having cancer and then having to travel so far, definitely having something close is one less thing you have to worry about,” said Johnson.

The Marshfield Medical Center in Neillsville just opened, thanks to, and in support of, the community it’s in.

“I have sometimes patients who if they go to Marshfield, would not be able to take their family members with them,” said Dr. Chady Leon, at the Marshfield Medical Center in Neillsville. “Here we have family meetings and discussions about the patient’s treatment.”

It is a state-of-the-art facility providing almost everything a patient would need, right in their own backyard.

“We can do all the bloodwork that we can do in Marshfield,” said Dr. Leon. “We’re able to do CT, MRI, all the advanced imaging, and of course we’re able to see our patients and give treatment.”

The center continues to grow thanks to the patients who’ve been treated there.

“We were so impressed with everything, we decided to donate for an infusion suite which we’re sitting in right now,” said Simek.

“When we walk in the door we know the people behind the desk,” said Johnson. “We can say hi and everybody has a smile on their face and it creates such a positive environment that a cancer patient like I am, we need that.”

It’s those benefits that make a big difference for a couple just beginning their love story.

“We do joke that when we come here, it’s like we have a little date in the cafeteria because they have a Starbucks and so we can sit and have coffee,” said Simek. “Not that it’s a big thing but it’s a little thing that makes the experience just a little bit better.

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