Heartland Hospice serving South Central Wisconsin, a division of ProMedica, helped patient, Diane Czisz, meet her favorite musician, Alice Cooper.
Diane is diagnosed with terminal cervical cancer and has been with Heartland Hospice since May 2019. When she first met Alison Bridges, Heartland Hospice Medical Social Worker, she told her how excited she was to go to the Alice Cooper concert in Madison, Wisconsin on July 10th. Diane then mentioned to Alison that before she passed she would love to meet Alice Cooper.
A couple weeks later, Alison brought up Diane’s wish during a meeting with the Heartland team. When Carmen Sperle, Heartland Hospice Bereavement Coordinator, heard about Diane’s wish, she knew she had to help to make her last wish come true. Within a few hours of sending out emails, Carmen received a response that her request had been sent to Sheryl Cooper, Alice Cooper’s wife. A couple days later, Carmen heard back that Alice Cooper wanted to meet Diane!
Carmen had yet to meet with Diane, so she set-up a day to introduce herself and the bereavement services available for her friend and caregiver, Rick. Before her visit, Carmen printed a photo of Alice Cooper and wrote on the bottom ‘Get ready to meet me on July 10th!’ to surprise Diane. The day she met with Diane and Rick, Carmen gave the photo to Diane and once she read the bottom she screamed, “WHAT, for real? WHAT?” and began to cry, as did her friend Rick.
The day of the concert, Laura Ballweg, Heartland Hospice Nurse Practitioner, and her beautician friend did Diane’s hair and makeup and Carmen donated jewelry for her to wear to meet Alice Cooper. Kobussen Buses Ltd. of Sun Prairie graciously donated transportation to take Diane and Rick to the show. Upon arrival, Diane was greeted by members of the Heartland care team; Karin Brown, Heartland Hospice Spiritual Care Coordinator, Patti Soter, Heartland Hospice Aide, Lisa Steindorf-Cleary, Heartland Hospice RN Case Manager, Ryan Klaustermeier, Heartland Hospice Administrator and Carmen.
Alice Cooper’s team rolled out the red carpet, including backstage/VIP passes, access to their lounge and the opportunity to sit it Alice’s dressing room and visit. Alice Cooper gave Diane an autographed glove, one of his whips that he uses on stage and a couple of t-shirts. The last thing Alice said to Diane was, “See you next year at one of my shows!”
Diane and the Heartland team had their own VIP seating area. Diane was in her element and you could tell she was enjoying every minute of the concert. “For me, this was not even like doing a job. To see someone who is so sick be so happy is the most amazing reward I could imagine. I am so thankful for incredible people like Alice Cooper and his team. They were all kind and genuine and still check in with me to see how Diane is doing. Dreams really can come true,” said Carmen.
Diane continues to talk about the memories that were made that evening. Carmen created a framed collage including photos, her ticket and the VIP pass, which sits on Diane’s bedside table. “This was the most amazing experience of my life. I just wish I was able to ask Alice Cooper all the questions I had in my head. I was frozen and couldn’t even speak when he shook my hand!” said Diane.