Each year, Mayo Clinic's In the Loop blog looks back and shares some favorite stories of the year gone by. Be sure to check back each week for the next story.
No. 1 Fan Scores Meet-and-Greet with Luke Bryan, Courtesy of Fan Club of Her Own
When Luke Bryan took the stage at Country Jam USA in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, on Saturday night, the best seats in the house weren't in front of the stage. They were on it. Just ask Jennie Geurts, who watched the concert from there. "It was the best time of my life," Jennie tells us of seeing her favorite performer up close and personal. That's music to the ears of staff in the Urology Department at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, who helped Jennie get there.
It all started back in April, when those staff members decided to do something special for Jennie. Many of them have come to care deeply for the 38-year-old Eau Claire resident, who lives with multiple serious health conditions including spina bifida, congestive heart failure, and lymphedema.
Staff members who work with her "truly see Jennie as a whole person, not just her clinical condition and medical needs," Sue Sivertson, clinical nurse director, tells us. "They developed a relationship of trust with her that allowed Jennie to share her story and the important ways she copes," Sivertson says.
They learned one of those ways is through music. Especially the music of Luke Bryan, who they knew Jennie dreamed of meeting someday. So when staff heard the country crooner would be headlining this year's Country Jam USA music festival, they decided to try to make that dream come true.
When asked why she's such a fan of Bryan's, Jennie tells us it's about more than the music. She also admires how he’s handled his own challenges in life, including the deaths of his brother, sister, brother-in-law, and niece. "He always stays positive," Jennie tells us. (Sounds like someone we just met.)
That positivity was on full display on July 22, when Jennie got to spend a few precious moments with her musical hero. They chatted, shared a hug, and snapped some selfies. And when the meet-and-greet ended, there was one more surprise in store. "Luke invited me to sit on stage during the concert," Jennie tells us. "It was amazing."
That's a word she uses to describe her care team, too. "It means the world to me that they would do something like that for me," she says. "It really made me feel special. I have a lot of love for them."