If you would like to have your loved one added to our memory page or to honor a survivor, please contact us at 262.305.1370 or send us mail at: Ann’s Hope Foundation
P.O. Box 376
Hartland WI 53029.
On January 9, 1968, Taunya Lynn Bellinger was born. It was such a joyous occasion. Taunya was a delightful and happy child. Three years and ten months later, she became a big sister and stepped into the without hesitation. In August 1974, Taunya became a big sister again. She thought that being the big sister was the greatest role in life. Sisters Taunya, Tamara and Tricia were in the same school for just one year before Taunya went onto junior high. She joined the cheerleading squad and enjoyed performing for crowds. Taunya was very successful in school and graduated in 1986.
After graduation, Taunya started working for a local pharmacy and enrolled in a technical college. Two years later, she graduated with an Associate Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management. Taunya went on to be the general manager of five hotels over the course of eighteen years. She won numerous local, state and national awards. Taunya excelled in the challenges she faced every day, while taking pride in serving the public and maintaining a great staff. With her caring and loving personality, Taunya was respected and loved by all.
In September 1993, Taunya married Sean Krajnik. They began their family with their daughter, Bailee Lynn, in October 1994. Their family grew with the birth of their second daughter, Peyton Kayne, in July 1998. Taunya was so happy to be a mom and a perfect one she was. Her daughters were her life.
Taunya enrolled in college once again to improve her managerial skills. All was going along well until 2001 when she noticed a mole on her left shoulder. The mole was removed and discovered to be malignant melanoma with a sentinel node being positive. Taunya went to see a melanoma specialist and was told at the time that there wasn’t much help out there for treatment. From 2001-2007, Taunya maintained a normal life until a spot was found on her lung. It was biopsied and found to be melanoma. From there, the cancer had metastasized to her brain causing many problems. Taunya’s speech was slurred and her right side was very weak.
Over a period of time, Taunya saw numerous oncologists in different states. She endured chemotherapy, radiation, Gamma Knife, tomotherapy and brain surgery. Taunya started speech, occupational and physical therapy and began to show improvement. She started college courses again with the goal of graduating with a Bachelors Degree in Business Management. During further testing, a pet scan showed the melanoma had metastasized again. This time in the peritoneal cavity and back in her brain. Taunya was such a strong person. Whatever course of treatment was suggested, she was always willing to try. She never complained or gave up. There was always hope in her words. “Maybe the next treatment” she would say. To our devastation, that was not the case.
Taunya passed away on the morning of May 23, 2009 at the age of 41. Her husband, Sean, and their two daughters were at her side. Time can never erase the wonderful memories she left us. Her beautiful smile, infectious laugh, unending compassion for people and love for life and family will be in our hearts forever. Taunya was an answer to our prayers. She is gone from this life with us, but she will never be forgotten.
Joe Fix loved people, loved life and loved to have fun. Joe, the sixth of eight children, was born in 1962 and grew up on the east side of Milwaukee, where years later he would establish Joe’s East Coast Car Shop. Joe was a natural business man with a keen sense of how to succeed. This allowed him to expand his operations in 2010 to include Affordable Auto Salvage in Milwaukee.
The same passion Joe had for business carried over to his love of family. Joe was the father of two sons, Frank and Camilo; the proud grandfather of Quinn and loving fiance to Robyn. As a father, Joe lead by example and taught his boys many life lessons which included in order to achieve success much hard work is required.
As hard as he worked, he also loved to have fun. Joe was passionate about snowmobiling, riding his motorcycle, attending NASCAR races, working on antique tractors and engines and spending time with friends and family. He also enjoyed long weekends at his properties up north where hunting and competing in local tractor pulls were favorite past times.
Joe was known for his giving spirit and generosity. He would go out of his way to help friends, family and even strangers. For the past 14 years, Joe was a dedicated donor to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, where he was happy to help many children with life-threatening illnesses. Joe is remembered for having one of the most positive and giving spirits even when faced with his own battle against melanoma.
In September of 2010, Joe was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma. After undergoing amputation of his toe and a lymph node resection, Joe was referred to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, for further treatment. After a second lymph node resection and several months of radiation therapy, he returned to Milwaukee under the care of Dr. Jonathan Treisman. He then underwent treatment in the IL2 program at Aurora St. Luke’s. After two courses of IL2 therapy treatments, Joe went on to receive Yervoy. Unfortunately, the tumors continued to grow and Joe lost his courageous battle against melanoma on October 13, 2011.
Joe believed whole-heartedly in raising money and awareness for the continued research necessary to find a cure for melanoma. He participated in the Annual Ann’s Hope Foundation Block Melanoma 5K Run & 3K Walk in May 2011. In the same generous and loving spirit that Joe lived, we will continue to support this cause.
It was often said that Joe was bigger than life itself. He will forever be in the hearts of his family and friends.
Joan Marie Bratz was born and raised in southern Wisconsin on a dairy farm, and was the fourth child of ten. She was married to John Thompson for 20 years and had one child, Amy, who graduated from Iowa State University. Joan loved life, she loved to travel, she loved her work and most of all, she loved her family.
Joan graduated from college later in life while working a full-time job and having a family. She was an extremely hard-working woman, always ready to help. Her job with Marriott Hotels is what made her happy until the end. She also treated traveling like a job — an enjoyable one, that is. We all laughed about her Excel spreadsheets where ever and whenever we traveled with her. Her spreadsheets told us who/what/where/when during the whole adventure. Christmas was Joan’s favorite holiday and she always traveled to Wisconsin to be with her family.
Joan was known for being a very good friend. She always said that friends were the people that were always there for you and never judged, which is why she kept in contact with her classmates and people she met while working in the National Parks. When she traveled, if any of these long-time friends were on the way or only a short distance away, she met with them for a visit or an overnight stay. If Joan’s travels took her to water — ocean, lake, river, pool or pond it made her trip all the better. She loved to sit on the beach and watch everything going on around her. As much as Joan loved to be outside she always wore a big hat.
Traveling and antiquing were Joan’s favorite things to do. Her sisters, daughter, niece’s and friends loved to do both these activities with her. She loved adventure and she loved it even more if it was a new experience. Whenever she found a new antique shop she couldn’t wait to show us.
Joan was diagnosed with melanoma in October 2009. She went through a couple of surgeries to remove the spot on the top of her head, but to no avail. The cancer spread to her lymph nodes, then metastasized to her brain and then to her organs. Once the doctors at the University of Tennessee Cancer Center exhausted all their knowledge, Joan headed to MD Anderson in Houston, TX, and was accepted into a clinical trial. This did not slow the cancer down, however. Joan didn’t complain or give up, she always had hope. Within 20 months, Joan lost her fight with melanoma on June 26, 2011 at the age of 54. Joan participated in the Annual Ann’s Hope Foundation 5K Run & 3K Walk the last two years with the Farmers Fighting Back team. Our never-ending search to find a cure for cancer is not over. Joan is missed every day by her family, friends and co-workers.
Rocky Michael McGrorty lost his battle with melanoma on August 15, 2011, five years after his initial diagnosis. He fought with courage and dignity, and always had hope. His fortitude and patience throughout all of his surgeries and treatments were inspiring to all of us.
Rocky had a great love of life, and possessed a remarkable kindness and understanding for his family, friends and colleagues. He also had a great sense of humor and could spin stories that left one grinning from ear to ear. I often told him he was the Garrison Keillor of Muskego. He was born and grew up in Muskego, a city that he loved. He also loved Iola, which we visited every year. As a child he had spent his summers there on his grandfather’s farm. He treasured his heritage, and we were even able to go to Ireland to visit the town his grandmother came from. He cherished his three daughters, and finally married the love of his life in 2007.
He had two passions, which he pursued with energy and dedication. He was constantly taking classes and most mornings would find him out running. He would run in all kinds of weather. If the temperature turned to 45 degrees, then it was time to run in shorts. He ran three marathons and many runs for charities. Nothing could slow him down, except for this horrible disease. I hope that we, his family and friends, will be able to honor Rocky in this run for melanoma. It is our opportunity to do something positive on behalf of our dearly loved husband, father, brother and friend.
Mike was born and raised In Kenosha, WI, and was the youngest of three boys. At an early age, Mike was a sports fanatic—playing baseball, tennis and golf. He was always outdoors and in the sun. Mike went to UW- LaCrosse where he was captain of the varsity tennis team. He graduated in business and worked in insurance, investments and finance most of his life. Mike met his future wife at LaCrosse, and they were married 26 years. They were blessed with one beautiful daughter, Lauren. Mike was a loving husband and an incredibly supportive father. Life was filled with family, friends and traveling. Mike’s passion was golf and he was one fantastic golfer!
In April of 2007, Mike found a lesion on his neck. He was diagnosed with stage 3 malignant melanoma. The cancer journey began and took us to UW-Madison and Dr. Albertini. Mike began interferon and remained with the drug until his body could no longer tolerate the medicine. Radiation followed and surgeries came next. Mike had an “angry” melanoma that kept coming back.
Mike began working with Dr. Treisman in 2009 at St. Luke’s in Milwaukee. He endured the painful Il-2 treatments and went through CyberKnife surgery to remove lesions in his brain. Mike never complained and never gave up hope. He had so much to live for. We were hopeful for new medicines or a new clinical trial. In January of 2010, we traveled to Loyola University to participate in the Ipilimumab clinical trial, all to no avail. Mike’s melanoma continued to come back. CT scans, MRI’s and PET scans were part of our lives. In 2011, Mike began taking Abraxane chemo infusions and for a few months it looked like the cancer was diminishing. But the cancer returned and grew within his abdomen and returned in his brain. Mike went into St. Luke’s on June 25 and died on July 10 from melanoma complications.
We lost a kind, gentle, warm and loving husband and father. Our light went out and our hearts were broken. It’s what a person does at the moment of his greatest struggle that shows who he really is and Mike showed the kind of man he was over the last 4-5 years as he fought this horrible disease. His courage, strength and resolve and love of family and friends were an inspiration to all who knew him. We love you Mike and miss you every day.
Would you like to host an event for Ann’s Hope Foundation? We would love to work with you. Contact us today!