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100% of your gift goes toward meeting the health care needs of your community.

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Lives that were changed

by donors like you

When we watch these inspirational videos of gratitude from our patients and their families, we know in our hearts there is good all around us.  When you give to Mercy Health Foundation, you join us in bringing more hope and healing to those we serve.

Nicole's Story

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Being a mother to an infant can be stressful. Being a mother to a six-month-old and finding a lump in your breast can be downright terrifying.

When her youngest daughter was barely crawling, Nicole embarked on an unchosen journey: battling an aggressive form of breast cancer that would need immediate treatment.

“I was terrified,” Nicole recalled. “As a mom working outside the home with three young children, and a husband who felt helpless, Mercy and my medical team became my saving grace. The staff took charge and guided us through an almost two-year battle including chemotherapy, radiation, a double mastectomy and multiple reconstructive surgeries.”
Nicole is now three years cancer free. She and her family are grateful for the many compassionate caregivers who walked with them through the entire journey: diagnosis, treatment and recovery. Nicole still stays in contact with the medical team who were her partners in this journey.

“Because of the outstanding care and support I received at Mercy, I will be able to be see Grace, Jackson and Piper’s milestone events. I have been blessed with a second chance at life, and I plan to make the most of each moment,” said Nicole.

The Shafers' Story

“It was the perfect storm that night,” recalled Dawn Shafer. Along with her husband David and her grandson, the Shafers were traveling from Texas to Indiana after the passing of David’s mother. The family was caught in the middle of a Southwest Missouri thunderstorm on I-44 when David became very ill.

We often joke about the technical prowess of kids these days, but in this moment, it was no laughing matter—their grandson searched Google for the closest hospital. The search revealed that Mercy Hospital Lebanon was nine miles away. The Shafers made a beeline toward the hospital. When the family arrived at the ER that stormy night, David was in respiratory failure with AFIB and pneumonia. The compassionate caregivers in the ER quickly went to work, diagnosing David’s condition and coordinating his care and treatment. Everyone the Shafers encountered during their detour in Lebanon left a positive impact on their family. “We’ve never experienced such professional courtesy,” they said, “and even the food was fabulous!”

The Shafers were grateful for the assistance they received with David’s prescriptions. And Dawn was able to focus her complete attention on David’s recovery knowing Mercy’s security officers were keeping a watchful eye on the trailer and motorcycle they had to leave unattended on the parking lot while David was hospitalized. “I was never in doubt with Mercy,” said Dawn. “I have no doubt in my mind that our new friends at Mercy Hospital Lebanon saved David’s life.”

“I think the entire community of Lebanon needs to know how blessed they are to have Mercy Hospital Lebanon in their community,” Dawn concluded. “Way to go, Lebanon! You were there for us and we are so grateful.”

John John's Story

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At the age of six, John Valitutto, or John John as his family calls him, received a diagnosis of autism. At the time of the diagnosis, John John’s father was deployed overseas, leaving Kathleen Valitutto, John John’s mother, to explore treatment options by herself.   She was nervous, alone and didn’t know where to turn.

“I knew what autism was, but I didn’t know how it would relate to my family,” recalls Kathleen. “When we received John John’s diagnosis, I was overwhelmed and scared, but when we walked through the doors of Mercy, it was like a whole world was opening for us. The doctors and nurses at Mercy showed me how to relate to my own child.”

A specialized team consisting of Dr. John Mantovani, along with many nurses and therapists, surrounded Kathleen and she knew she was going to have the support she would need to help her son. Dr. Mantovani and his team helped John John and Kathleen explore and understand the world of autism through the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM), which uses play therapy and activities to encourage language, social and cognitive skills.

During this treatment, John John began to learn how to communicate using sign language.  This gave him the ability to tell his mom, dad and teachers his likes, wants and needs. He is also beginning to verbally communicate, something Kathleen never thought would be possible.

“Before coming to Mercy, all I could think about were the things that we wouldn’t get to do. Now I know that there is so much that we can do. And we will,” said Kathleen.

John John is now attending school and interacting with his family and peers thanks to the life changing therapies he received at Mercy. 

Katy's Story

Katie is a loving mother, daughter and entrepreneur. After years of struggling with mental health, Katie attempted to take her own life.

Learn how Mercy’s Intensive Outpatient Therapy Program (IOP) helped Katie heal old wounds and find hope, happiness and self-worth.

Thomas's Story

Thomas was diagnosed with autism shortly before his first birthday. With the help of Mercy Therapy and Development Center’s specialized care team, Thomas is now thriving.

Learn how this innovative program is making a life-changing difference for patients and their families, and helping children reach their full potential.

Bryce's Story

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Receiving a life-threatening diagnosis can be an overwhelming experience. But imagine how it would feel to learn that your child has cancer. When Jill and Mike Dal Pozzo took their three-year-old son Bryce to the ER, they never realized how quickly their lives would be turned upside down.

Fortunately for Bryce and his family, Mercy was there to provide innovative treatments and compassionate care that helped heal his body. And, Mercy’s support services took some of the burden off his mom and dad so they could focus on Bryce’s recovery.

One thing is certain: cancer hasn’t slowed this little fireball down. The twinkle has returned to Bryce’s big brown eyes and he is busy trying to keep up with older brother Chase and twin sister Morgan.

Thanks to donors like you, Mercy can continue to invest in advanced technologies that improve patient outcomes. Your generosity also ensures that patients and their families have access to wraparound services, such as pastoral care, counseling, comfort items, nutritional supplements, and assistance with prescriptions and transportation.

I hope you’ll be touched by Bryce’s story and consider making a gift to Mercy Health Foundation that will bring hope and healing to all those we serve.

Casey's Story

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Nick and Charlie's Story

Direct Appeal Video

Nicole's Story

Play Video

Being a mother to an infant can be stressful. Being a mother to a six-month-old and finding a lump in your breast can be downright terrifying.

When her youngest daughter was barely crawling, Nicole embarked on an unchosen journey: battling an aggressive form of breast cancer that would need immediate treatment.

“I was terrified,” Nicole recalled. “As a mom working outside the home with three young children, and a husband who felt helpless, Mercy and my medical team became my saving grace. The staff took charge and guided us through an almost two-year battle including chemotherapy, radiation, a double mastectomy and multiple reconstructive surgeries.”
Nicole is now three years cancer free. She and her family are grateful for the many compassionate caregivers who walked with them through the entire journey: diagnosis, treatment and recovery. Nicole still stays in contact with the medical team who were her partners in this journey.

“Because of the outstanding care and support I received at Mercy, I will be able to be see Grace, Jackson and Piper’s milestone events. I have been blessed with a second chance at life, and I plan to make the most of each moment,” said Nicole.

John John's Story

Play Video

At the age of six, John Valitutto, or John John as his family calls him, received a diagnosis of autism. At the time of the diagnosis, John John’s father was deployed overseas, leaving Kathleen Valitutto, John John’s mother, to explore treatment options by herself.   She was nervous, alone and didn’t know where to turn.

“I knew what autism was, but I didn’t know how it would relate to my family,” recalls Kathleen. “When we received John John’s diagnosis, I was overwhelmed and scared, but when we walked through the doors of Mercy, it was like a whole world was opening for us. The doctors and nurses at Mercy showed me how to relate to my own child.”

A specialized team consisting of Dr. John Mantovani, along with many nurses and therapists, surrounded Kathleen and she knew she was going to have the support she would need to help her son. Dr. Mantovani and his team helped John John and Kathleen explore and understand the world of autism through the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM), which uses play therapy and activities to encourage language, social and cognitive skills.

During this treatment, John John began to learn how to communicate using sign language.  This gave him the ability to tell his mom, dad and teachers his likes, wants and needs. He is also beginning to verbally communicate, something Kathleen never thought would be possible.

“Before coming to Mercy, all I could think about were the things that we wouldn’t get to do. Now I know that there is so much that we can do. And we will,” said Kathleen.

John John is now attending school and interacting with his family and peers thanks to the life changing therapies he received at Mercy. 

The Shafer's Story

“It was the perfect storm that night,” recalled Dawn Shafer. Along with her husband David and her grandson, the Shafers were traveling from Texas to Indiana after the passing of David’s mother. The family was caught in the middle of a Southwest Missouri thunderstorm on I-44 when David became very ill.

We often joke about the technical prowess of kids these days, but in this moment, it was no laughing matter—their grandson searched Google for the closest hospital. The search revealed that Mercy Hospital Lebanon was nine miles away. The Shafers made a beeline toward the hospital. When the family arrived at the ER that stormy night, David was in respiratory failure with AFIB and pneumonia. The compassionate caregivers in the ER quickly went to work, diagnosing David’s condition and coordinating his care and treatment. Everyone the Shafers encountered during their detour in Lebanon left a positive impact on their family. “We’ve never experienced such professional courtesy,” they said, “and even the food was fabulous!”

The Shafers were grateful for the assistance they received with David’s prescriptions. And Dawn was able to focus her complete attention on David’s recovery knowing Mercy’s security officers were keeping a watchful eye on the trailer and motorcycle they had to leave unattended on the parking lot while David was hospitalized. “I was never in doubt with Mercy,” said Dawn. “I have no doubt in my mind that our new friends at Mercy Hospital Lebanon saved David’s life.”

“I think the entire community of Lebanon needs to know how blessed they are to have Mercy Hospital Lebanon in their community,” Dawn concluded. “Way to go, Lebanon! You were there for us and we are so grateful.”

Casey's Story

Play Video

After an unsuccessful cataract surgery at the age of 15, Casey Brown’s vision continued to deteriorate, and he began to lose hope.

Fearful his family couldn’t afford additional treatments and more surgeries, Casey learned to adapt to his vision loss. He used the zoom feature on his cell phone as a magnifying glass, and memorized the eye chart at the doctor’s office to hide his worsening eyesight.

His vision became so impaired that Casey was forced to put his education on hold. He began teaching himself to read and write braille, convinced that he would completely lose his ability to see.

By the grace of God, and with help from his aunt in Missouri, Casey was referred to Dr. Shachar Tauber, an ophthalmologist with Mercy Hospital Springfield. Dr. Tauber shared the good news with Casey and his aunt: Casey’s vision could be restored. And Casey would be the first patient of Dr. Tauber’s to undergo a new surgical procedure, called cross-linking.

The process of bringing cross- linking technology to Springfield began with a gift from a former patient of Dr. Tauber’s. Bolstered by donations from other grateful patients, providers and community members, along with funds raised from Mercy Health Foundation’s Colors of Hope Gala, Mercy Surgery Center was able to procure the cross-linking equipment.

Casey underwent cross-linking surgery on his left eye in June 2020, and the impact on his life has been transformational. Casey began driving again. He returned to college, majoring in political science with a concentration in pre-law. His ultimate goal is to serve as a senator in his home state of Georgia, and to inspire others by becoming a motivational speaker.

Mercy Health Foundation