About The Eileen Project

A number of years ago, Alpha Medical Equipment Inc. was at the WEMSA trade show in Milwaukee WI and their booth was next to “Jessica”, a pink fire truck out of Illinois. After talking with the people who brought “Jessica” to the trade show we learned that there were 8 fire trucks, each one of them named for someone who had lost their battle with breast cancer. This hit home with Jeff and Ranae, owners of Alpha Medical Equipment.  Jeff’s mom Eileen was battling Primary Peritoneal & Ovarian Cancer at the time and her doctors at Mayo Clinic in Rochester had given her 12-18 months to live. While at WEMSA Ranae was talking with Eileen, told her about “Jessica” and sent Eileen a picture of her.  Eileen thought this was an incredible tribute to those women the trucks were named for, she even joked that “maybe Jeff would do something like that for me.”

         Eileen’s treatment went well and her cancer went into remission. Like all cancer patients, the 3 month check-ups brought both stress and relief.  It was at one of those check-ups that Eileen got the news that cancer had returned, although this time it was breast cancer.  Again Eileen chose an aggressive treatment plan and her cancer was put into a “no growth” state with continuing treatment. It was the side effects of the treatment Eileen was receiving that ultimately caused her treatment to be stopped.  Within months of discontinuing treatment her cancer was back. So Eileen went back to Mayo, hoping to once again control her disease.  Eileen had surgery in Rochester, MN in March of 2013.

          Eileen was a fighter, and wasn’t one to give up.  She had multiple complications, but never once was willing to concede her fight. She was in a rehab facility after surgery before she was discharged to her son Jeff’s home, where her family and home care professionals cared for her.  There were multiple hospital admissions before she was finally readmitted to the Mayo System in July 2013 where she remained until she passed away in September 2013.  Eileen’s life expectancy of 12-18 months had turned into 5 years thanks to Dr. Sean Dowdy and his incredible team at Mayo.

         Eileen was a remarkable woman.  She was the kind of person many people claimed was their “best friend”.  Eileen had a way of making whoever she was with feel special.  Eileen was a motivational speaker and also worked at the hospital in the town where she lived.  She worked in a marketing position at the hospital and was responsible for helping to bring hospice to her community.  She was continually giving to those around her. Eileen asked for very few things in life. When Eileen realized she wasn’t going to win her battle, she asked that we make sure she would never be forgotten. She asked us to take on her mission to make life better for those who would have to go through this battle after her. This is our way of honoring Eileen’s wishes.



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