September 6 2016



Young donor's stuffed animals to help comfort Mercy Medical Center patients


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Jan Nowak
Office: 414.465.3186 Mobile: 262.510.5733

(Oshkosh, Wis.) — Based on a personal emergency room experience two years ago, eight-year-old Andrew Sperling wanted to make a donation to Mercy Medical Center in Oshkosh, Wis., that would make a difference for kids.

In August, Andrew, Winneconne, Wis., donated 150 stuffed animals, blankets, coloring books and crayons to the Emergency Department (ED) for use with their youngest patients.young donor stuffed animals mercy oshkosh

“It feels really good and nice to help out another kid who is stressed out and has no idea what is going on,” Andrew said.

Andrew presented his eight bags loaded with colorful items to Normington-Slay, Jeremy, president of Mercy, and hospital staff from various departments.

“Andrew’s enthusiasm energized the ED staff,” Jeremy said. “His donation reminds us all that considerate acts of kindness can make big impressions.”

Two years ago, Andrew learned first-hand the power a stuffed animal can have for a kid in the emergency room. After suffering a severe allergic reaction to amoxicillin for a sinus infection, Andrew was taken to Mercy’s emergency department.

“It was scary and I had no idea what was going to happen,” Andrew said. “It wasn’t too comfortable.”

According to Phil Sperling, Andrew’s father, one of the ED staff gave Andrew a stuffed animal and that made all the difference in the world. “That must have hit home for Andrew,” Phil said. “After the experience Andrew asked about other kids, and thought every kid should get something.”

Last year, Andrew made a goal to collect 50 stuffed animals and other “kid comforts” for the ED.  With the help of aunts, grandparents and his parents, Andrew met his goal.

This year Andrew exceeded his 100-items goal. For his birthday party, he asked friends to bring a stuffed animal or blanket instead of a birthday gift. Those gifts, combined with the help of family and neighbors resulted in 150 pieces.

For 2017, Andrew is looking to exceed 200 items. “I plan to continue donating for a long-time,” he said enthusiastically.

Story by: Jan Nowak, manager, public and community relations, Ascension Wisconsin, (414-585-1856)

Cutline: Photo A (by John Egan, director, creative services, Ascension Wisconsin)


About Ministry Health Care
Ministry Health Care ( which includes Affinity Health System, is an integrated healthcare delivery network serving more than 1.1 million people across Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota. Ministry generates nearly $2.2 billion in annual operating revenue with 15 hospitals, 46 clinics and 10,000 associates, including 700 physicians and advanced practice clinicians. In 2013, Ministry Health Care joined Ascension, the largest Catholic and not-for-profit healthcare system in the nation. In that same year, Ministry became part of Integrated Health Network (IHN), which represents more than 5,000 physicians, 500 clinics and 42 hospitals in northern, central and eastern Wisconsin. IHN was created to improve the quality, efficiency and value of healthcare services in the markets served by its members.

Ministry is ranked among the top 20 percent of healthcare systems in the country according to Truven Health Analytics, and five Ministry hospitals are ranked in the top 10 in the state in Medicare’s Hospital Value Based Purchasing (VBP) program. Network Health, co-owned by Ministry Health Care and Froedtert Health, has received 4½-star recognition by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for its Medicare Advantage plans.

About Ascension
Ascension ( is a faith-based healthcare organization dedicated to transformation through innovation across the continuum of care. As the largest non-profit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system, Ascension is committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable. In FY2015, Ascension provided nearly $2 billion in care of persons living in poverty and other community benefit programs. Approximately 160,000 associates and 36,000 aligned providers serve in 2,500 sites of care – including 141 hospitals and more than 30 senior living facilities – in 24 states and the District of Columbia as part of Ascension’s Healthcare Division. Through its Solutions Division, Ascension subsidiaries provide a variety of services and solutions including physician practice management, venture capital investing, investment management, biomedical engineering, clinical care management, information services, risk management, and contracting through Ascension’s own group purchasing organization.

About Ascension Wisconsin
Ascension Wisconsin serves millions of people across the state with 24 hospitals and hundreds of sites of care. Approximately 23,500 associates, including nearly 1,000 medical group clinicians work collaboratively to deliver compassionate, personalized care every day. As part of Ascension, the largest non-profit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system, in fiscal year 2015, Ascension Wisconsin provided $300 million in community benefit including care of persons living in poverty. 

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