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Second Chance at Life

It was August 2017 when Bill Behlman, Mercy Health Foundation Board President, noticed profound shortness of breath after walking short distances. As the month progressed, Bill figured he had a mild respiratory infection and continued his daily activities. But he would be short of breath, experience chest discomfort, and notice numbness in his left arm whenever he was out and about.

Still thinking it was his lungs, Bill called his physician for an office visit. The doctor scheduled a stress test, but before the appointment, Bill's symptoms worsened. Bill's wife Jeannie wanted him to go to the Emergency Department at Ascension Mercy Hospital immediately. But Bill put it off, hoping his blood pressure would go down on its own. By the next morning, Bill's blood pressure had skyrocketed. Jeannie over ruled his stop in the Foundation office, and they went directly to the Emergency Department. There, Bill was told he had experienced a heart attack during the previous week, and he needed to be admitted to the hospital immediately.

The next morning, Bill was taken to the heart catheterization lab at Ascension Mercy Hospital, where the cardiac team found a 90 percent blockage in a branch off one of the major arteries in his heart. After opening up the blockage, a stent was placed into the artery to improve blood flow.

The very next day, Bill was walking down the hall in the hospital, amazed at how much better he felt. But his journey wasn't over. Before he was discharged, Bill was informed his next step would be cardiac rehabilitation. Less than a week after receiving his stent, Bill began a cardiac rehab program at Ascension Mercy Hospital. Bill took full advantage of the program, from exercise to education, with the profound realization that he was given a second chance at life.

Gifts to the Heart & Lung Fund at Mercy Health Foundation help make life-saving cardiac care possible, right here in Oshkosh. You can support patients like Bill with a gift to the Heart & Lung Fund. To make a donation or to find out more, please call (920) 223-0520 or visit

Mother with Sick Child