New bride thanks cancer staff with donations for saving mother’s life
Philanthropy has always been an integral part of Colby Zeuli’s life. She learned it from her parents at an early age and has followed in their footsteps.
“My parents have always been very philanthropic,” says Colby. “Whenever someone has helped them, they have always given back tenfold.”
During her middle and high school years, Colby chose to raise funds for charities whenever she had community service hours to complete and found it very fulfilling. At age 14, she and her twin brother, Grant, raised more than $50,000 for St. Jude’s Hospital in lieu of gifts for their B’nai Mitzvah celebration.
So when Colby began planning her wedding, she and her new husband, Michael Zeuli, didn’t think twice when they requested that guests donate to the University of Nebraska Medical Center Hematological Malignancies Fund or the Michael J. Fox Foundation instead of gifts.
Both of these foundations are near and dear to their hearts. Michael’s grandfather passed away several years ago from Parkinson’s disease.
Colby’s mother, Stacie Greene, is still here today due to the care she received at Nebraska Medical Center 29 years ago when she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
When she received the devastating news, Greene was just 26 years old with one-year-old twins. After a failed chemotherapy regimen, research for the best center to receive care for this type of cancer took them to Nebraska Medical Center, one of the leaders and pioneers of autologous bone marrow and stem cell transplants, a new and emerging treatment.
“Stacie had a very aggressive lymphoma,” says James Armitage, MD, Nebraska Medicine hematologist and oncologist, who oversaw Greene’s transplant and subsequent care. “Performing a bone marrow and stem cell transplant using the patient’s own blood was a very new and exciting procedure back then,” Dr. Armitage recalls. “We were seeing good results, but we didn’t know for sure the long term consequences. It was thought that the procedure would likely cause infertility in women.”
But without the transplant, Greene’s prognosis was very poor.
Greene successfully underwent the transplant and is living proof today of its success. Not only that, Greene went on to have two more children in 2000 and 2004.
“Dr. Armitage and his team at Nebraska Medical Center saved my mother’s life and changed the trajectory of my life,” says Colby.
Raising these funds is a very small way Colby can thank Dr. Armitage and the staff at Nebraska Medical Center, who made it possible to have both her mother and father there to help celebrate her wedding day.
“Donations like these are a really big deal,” says Dr. Armitage. “There are a lot of clinical investigations and data collection that need to be done even before we can apply for grants to help fund research. Private donations allow us to do the legwork and research required to develop new and promising treatments for our patients. Private support led to this new treatment discovery 29 years ago and is key to eliminating the impact of this disease 29 years from now or sooner.”
If you’d like to learn how you can help, please contact Tom Thompson, senior director of development at the University of Nebraska Foundation, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 402.502.4116.