Scholarship Awarded to Generous 5-Year-Old

Young Girl to Receive $1,000 from ThedaCare Foundations

When Ella Bast of Combined Locks announced she would like to donate the gifts from her 5th birthday to the emergency department at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah, the emergency staff knew they would meet a special young girl.

“Ella’s generosity is the definition of paying it forward,” said Ashton Reno, manager for the department at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah. “When her sister was in the emergency department last year, donated gifts were given to them both. They appreciated the gifts so much that Ella wanted to do the same thing for someone else.”

Now, that kindness is coming back to Ella. The ThedaCare Family of Foundations is awarding Ella a $1,000 scholarship in recognition of her kindness and to encourage future leadership and generosity in the community.

“Young people like Ella who make generous gifts like this are making a difference in someone’s life and helping us carry out our mission,” said Courtney Weiland, vice president of philanthropy. “They are the future of our community, and we want to recognize children like Ella and encourage them to continue to lead by example.”

In April, Ella asked her birthday guests – 26 children in all – to bring a gift for the emergency department instead of for her. The emergency department hands out new gifts such as stuffed animals, sippy cups, puzzles, games, stickers, coloring books and pajamas to young children or their siblings when they visit the department to help keep them occupied and calm. These gifts are sent home with the child.

Ella went even further by using the gift cards she received to purchase additional items on the department’s wish list.

Community donations of time, talents or collected items like Ella’s help the Foundation support ThedaCare in its mission of improving the health of our communities by enhancing best-in-class access to expert, local care. The Foundation hopes Ella’s thoughtful example will encourage future leaders to give back to their community and further enhance the legacy of Theda Clark Peters, who dreamed of a better life and better health for people in Northeast Wisconsin.

To learn more about the ThedaCare Family of Foundations and the impact of donor support, or to make a donation, please visit or email 

For more than 100 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast Wisconsin. The organization serves over 200,000 patients annually and employs more than 6,800 healthcare professionals throughout the region. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose, as well as 31 clinics in nine counties and the ThedaCare Regional Cancer Center in Appleton. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service.  For more information, visit or follow ThedaCare on Facebook and Twitter.