Former Patients, Rehab Staff Reconnect at Picnic

Theda Clark Event Invites Patients to Show Progress, Share Memories

For nearly two months after a motorcycle crash, Brandon Mayer called The Center for Rehabilitation Services at Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah home.“I got to know everyone who worked there pretty well and they have a wonderful, caring staff who helped me relearn so many things,” said Mayor, a 20-year-old Appleton man who suffered a traumatic brain injury in the crash last September. “They really became my family.”

On Wed., June 17, Mayer and other former rehab patients will gather with hospital staff from 5- 8 p.m. at Jefferson Park in Menasha to celebrate everyone’s achievements at the center’s annual Alumni Picnic. This is the 33rd year the center has hosted the picnic and more than 350 former patients, family members and staff members are expected to attend.

Tom Van Sistine, MD, Theda Clark’s rehab medical director, said the picnic is an ideal time for former patients to gather with staff members to rekindle friendships and share their experiences of their recovery from stroke, traumatic physical injury or other challenging medical condition.

“It’s just a nice time to socialize and celebrate everyone’s accomplishments and how far they’ve come,” he said. “Sometimes the road to recovery can be a long one. Events like the alumni reunion picnic gives our graduates a chance to reflect, reconnect and share their experiences. It also gives our rehab team a chance to recognize, honor and celebrate our patient’s hard work and efforts in that recovery process.”

Mayer is looking forward to seeing the staff members again. “I’ve stopped in and seen them a few times while I’ve been at the hospital for outpatient therapy,” he said. “I want to show them how far I’ve come and how I’m such a different person now.”

Besides talking with staff members and other patients, Mayor also hopes to play the guitar and sing at the picnic, which features a DJ and staff members providing entertainment. “I’ve really been working hard and hope I’m up for it. Dr. Van Sistine said he saved a spot for me to play on the schedule if I’m ready,” he said.

The Center for Rehabilitation Services has treated nearly 4,630 patients since it opened in 1981. Because of the role it plays in helping patients fulfill their potential for recovery, The Center for Rehabilitation Services is an integral part of the Trauma Center at Theda Clark Medical Center, one of the region’s nationally verified Level II trauma centers.

Theda Clark Medical Center is a 166-bed acute care hospital founded in 1909. In addition to general medical and surgical care, specialized services include a birth center, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin - Fox Valley, the region’s only American College of Surgeons Verified Level II Trauma Center, the Aylward Outpatient Surgery Center and ThedaStar Air Medical Helicopter. Theda Clark Medical Center also offers comprehensive neuroscience care and the Theda Clark Stroke Center was the first stroke center in Northeast Wisconsin to be certified as a Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission. The Bariatric Program at Theda Clark, along with Midwest Bariatric Solutions and its surgeons, have jointly received two Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence designations by the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Bariatric Surgery.

ThedaCare™ is a community health system consisting of seven hospitals: Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark Medical Center, ThedaCare Medical Center-New London, Shawano Medical Center, Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca, Berlin Memorial Hospital, and Wild Rose Community Memorial Hospital. ThedaCare also includes ThedaCare Physicians, ThedaCare Behavioral Health, and ThedaCare At Home. ThedaCare is one of the largest employers in Northeast Wisconsin with more than 6,800 employees. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.