Janesville man makes hospital donation to honor wife

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Saturday, May 21, 2011
— The death of Bill Tischer’s wife on Easter Sunday left him feeling as if his heart had been ripped from his body.

“I miss her so terribly much,” he said.

Christina, or Chrissy as her friends called her, died at the age of 52 after a short battle with a rare form of uterine cancer.

But through Bill’s heartache, he is finding a way to carry on his “wife’s glory.”

Bill remained at his wife’s side for about a week in the intensive care unit at Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center. But getting a good night’s sleep near Chrissy was nearly impossible.

“I didn’t have any place to sleep,” he said. “Other people in the waiting rooms were trying to sleep.”

During their stay at University Hospital in Madison, Bill said staff found a rollaway bed for him.

“I was able to lay right next to my wife while she was in the oncology area,” he said. “It was so nice because I could lay there, keep an eye on her and was there 24 hours a day, seven days a week when we were up there.”

His experience led him to make a donation to Mercy to buy sleeper sofas for families to use while their loved ones are in the intensive care unit.

“I just thought it was a fabulous idea,” said Kris Phillips, director of the intensive care unit at Mercy.

A fund was set up in memory of Chrissy through the Mercy Foundation so others can make donations to the “Chrissy fund.”

Mercy is buying three sofa sleepers and will add more as needed, she said. The intensive care unit has 15 beds.

As a nursing director, Phillips said she doesn’t always see a hospital stay through the eyes of the family because the focus is on the care of the patient.

“This was really enlightening to me,” she said. “He came to the ICU (and said), ‘I want to do this, I want to make sure her name lives on and something good comes out of it.’”

Mercy has an open visiting policy for the intensive care unit, she said, so families are able to stay with their loved ones. On average, one or two families stay all night, every night with their family member, she said.

Mercy tries to accommodate out-of-town guests, she said, and if a room is available, family members of an intensive care unit patient can sleep in another patient room. A hospitality house is available for patients and families who need a place to stay during an extended treatment or hospitalization.

Through all of Chrissy’s treatments, she never complained about the rapid and aggressive cancer she was fighting, Bill said.

He’s hoping to have a plaque made or find another way to memorialize her life. The couple met 19 years ago at Hormel in Beloit, where both of them worked. The plant paused production so co-workers could attend Chrissy’s funeral, he said.

“That tells you something about the quality of person she was,” he said.

“I want this done in my wife’s glory. I want my wife’s name in lights.”

To donate

Donations in memory of Christina Tischer can be made out to the “Chrissy fund” to help buy sofa sleepers for families to use in the intensive care unit at Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center.

Donations can be sent to the Mercy Foundation, Attn: Kristin Larson, 903 Mineral Point Ave., Janesville, WI 53548.

Last updated: 5:10 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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