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.
In their lives, Arthur and Max embodied humor, loyalty, energy, courage, drive, kindness, and love. They were both brothers and best friends. They were deeply loved and admired by those who knew them, especially their parents and siblings, Max’s wife and daughters, and their many friends.
Arthur and Max were both born in Tampa, Florida. They moved to Rockford, Illinois when Arthur was in high school and Max in middle school. Growing up, they lived with their parents and three younger siblings. They shared many interests, like video games and Pokémon. They would play basketball games outside on summer evenings, opening the game to any of their siblings who wanted to join in. They also developed their own interests. Max trained relentlessly for his high school football team and pursued an Associate’s degree through dual-credit classes at the local community college. Arthur became well-versed in all things pop culture: if he came home while his parents watched a movie, after only a few seconds, he could almost always name the movie, director, and main actors.
Where Arthur skated by high school with good grades and little fanfare, Max was a trouble-maker who loved to push the boundaries. Max loved to show off—his muscles, his accomplishments—and Arthur would sit back and gently tease him, to everyone’s amusement. Both boys had big hearts: Arthur always lent money to a friend in need, and Max never forgot a handmade card or gift for a loved one’s birthday. Arthur was full of honesty and integrity; he never had a bad word to say about anybody. And Max, though he loved to play-fight with virtually anyone, loved his family and friends deeply and would help them with anything. Arthur was quiet while Max was loud, but they were inseparable. They shared a room and friends—even friends they met at a young age they kept in touch with for years.
As they got older, Arthur and Max went in different directions but their close friendship never changed. Arthur went to Northern Illinois University and was finishing a degree in Media Studies with a minor in Journalism. He wrote for NIU’s newspaper, The Northern Star. He worked for years at Toys ‘R’ Us, where he was beloved by coworkers, and he achieved high grades, despite balancing work and school. He spent much of his free time with his close group of friends.
Max moved out after high school and married the love of his life, Hollee. He was certain when he met Hollee that they were meant to be, and Max he knew to boldly follow his heart. He was deeply devoted to Hollee and their two daughters, Damona and Kaylee Ginny. Max often teased his oldest daughter Damona, playing with her and sharing his interests with her. And she lit up around him. As for Hollee, there wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for her, and he showered her with gifts, whether they were chocolates or giant stuffed animals. He worked tirelessly as a manager at Sam’s Club to provide for his family. He also studied Krav Maga at Elite Defense Systems. But it was clear that there was nothing he was more passionate about than his wife and daughters.
Melanoma was another part of life that Max and Arthur shared. They were both diagnosed with Stage III melanoma in the summer of 2013. Together, they faced surgeries and weekly infusions. With their parents and Hollee by their side, they fought with humor and determination. They often joked about having cancer, and they scarcely complained, no matter how sick they felt. They were both declared cancer-free by the end of the year.
In the spring of 2015, Arthur’s melanoma returned. It had metastasized, specifically to his brain. He had emergency brain surgery, but the cancer was relentless—the mets in his brain grew from three to forty in a month. But Arthur was relentless, too. He continued to try and go to NIU for his final semester, even persuading his mom to drive him down for class, only to fall due to swelling in his brain. He passed away in September of that year in his parent’s house. His parents posthumously received his degree; he graduated Magna Cum Laude.
Still coping with the death of his brother, Max was re-diagnosed with melanoma in the early spring of 2016. He had tumors in his chest, and at first, the immunotherapy trial he was on was working to shrink them. However, it nearly sent him into liver failure. After the trial, he underwent different treatments, but the cancer overtook his lungs. He passed away in December of that year with his wife, dad, and mom by his side.
Arthur and Max would want their family and friends to celebrate their lives, to honor the humor they brought into every situation. They taught all their loved ones the importance of perseverance, hard work, and generosity. To best respect their legacy, their family is proud to support the work of Ann’s Hope Foundation in raising awareness about melanoma prevention and early detection.
Ronald “Buck” Parker is a low-key guy who doesn’t consider himself a hero.
After returning from Vietnam in a body cast, he set to work, turning an old farm near Arpin in central Wisconsin into a paradise filled with apple fruit trees, flowers, yard art, and a series of spring-fed ponds. He keeps them stocked with pan fish and walleyes, and invites the disabled veterans who are treated at the Tomah VA Medical Center to come and fish.
He says it’s therapeutic for veterans like him who deal with post-traumatic stress from their war experiences.
“They really enjoy it, their faces just light up when they hook one,” he says.
He was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in 2004, and sent to the Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital in Madison to be treated by Dr. Mark Albertini of the UW Carbone Cancer Center. He was so dedicated to others learning from his disease that he remembers, as he was wheeled into the operating room, signing the paperwork so that his tumors could be saved for research.
Despite chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, by 2011 his cancer had advanced to stage 4, with cancer erupting all over his body.
“It was pretty much everywhere: in my adrenal glands, in my breast, in my armpit,” says Parker, who was too ill to do much but sit in his recliner, watching over his orchard from the window.
Dr. Albertini suggested Parker take part in a clinical trial (funded in part by Ann’s Hope Foundation) that he was leading at UW Carbone Cancer Center.
“I figured that even if it didn’t help me, they’d learn from me and it might help other people,” he said.
Albertini has been researching using the body’s immune system to fight cancer. Cancer is usually invisible to the immune system because cancer grows from the body’s own cells. But Albertini was investigating a strategy in melanoma patients that was initially developed and studied in mice by Dr. Uri Galili at the University of Massachusetts. This strategy involves injecting the tumors with a protein derived from rabbit red blood cells, tagging the tumors in a way that can alert the immune system to a foreign invader.
Parker took part in the research, which was recently published in the journal Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy. While the treatment was safe and well tolerated, it was not able to activate a sufficient immune response to stop Parker’s cancer from growing.
“One night, Dr. Albertini called me at about 9:00 at night and told me he had found another clinical trial I could try,” he remembers. The very next day, his wife, Karen, drove him to a hospital in Eau Claire, where he had the first of four injections of a drug that was experimental at that time and used a different method to harness the immune system to fight cancer.
Following the second round of the drug, the Parkers noticed that edges of his tumors turned fiery red. Then they began to shrink, imploding in on themselves and shrinking in diameter. Today you can’t even see where the lesions once grew.
The drug that was experimental at that time, ipilimumab, was approved later that year as the first of a blockbuster group of new immunotherapy drugs.
It worked so well for Parker that he has passed the five-year milestone of being cancer-free.
Dr. Albertini is now studying an approach that is similar to the strategy that worked for Parker. He hypothesizes that the first treatment with the rabbit protein helped rev up Parker’s immune system so it responded robustly when he got the second immunotherapy treatment, and he hopes to test that concept in a future study.
And Parker’s cancer cells will live on in the Albertini lab at the UW Carbone Cancer Center, another way Parker is helping others by moving cancer research forward.
Craig Harasha was a man who lived his life with integrity. He was true to himself and deeply cared for those around him. Craig was a dedicated employee of Alliant Energy and a committed member of the Cascade Nation Ski Patrol. He was an outdoor enthusiast with a passion for skiing, hiking and biking. He also enjoyed reading and spending time with friends and family. He was quick to help anyone who needed a task completed and loved to give a helping hand.
Craig was diagnosed at the age of 42 with stage 4 melanoma after finding a lump on his upper back. His short battle with melanoma was fought with courage and dignity and he endured two rounds of chemotherapy, Gamma Knife, whole brain and other radiation. The beast known as melanoma took his life in just six short months.
Craig was a loving son, brother, uncle, friend and nephew and is deeply missed by all. They are each saddened that his life was cut short by this horrific disease.
Craig was alive at the inception of Ann’s Hope Foundation and we now continue these efforts in his memory. Life is all about the journey; Craig’s journey was comprised of simple pleasure and heartfelt giving.
Husband, father, grandfather, friend, Richard was 63 years old and just beginning to experience retirement when melanoma ended his life. Richard enjoyed many activities with his wife Jan and children Anne and Eric, including skiing, cycling and golfing. Richard volunteered in numerous charity events and loved giving back to his community.
Richard’s melanoma was first discovered with a black area on his toe. He endured surgeries and a year of Immunotherapy before relapsing and losing his two-year battle to melanoma. He lived long enough to see his third grandchild, Phoebe, born. Ann’s Hope Foundation was started in memory of Richard by his daughter, Anne Frentzel.
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