A special connection and a lasting impact

Dean and Julie Jorstad

Dean and Julie Jorstad

Dean and Julie Jorstad share a special connection to Children's Wisconsin. It's not only where they both worked for more than three decades—Dean as a pharmacist in the MACC Fund Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders and Julie as a nurse—but it's also where they met and fell in love.

Because Dean worked days and Julie nights, it took a Children's Wisconsin-sponsored ski trip for them to meet early in their careers, and they got to know each other even better when Dean coached the Children's Wisconsin employee softball team (Julie played in the outfield). They've been married for 32 years and also run Smiling Dog Orchard, where they grow 4,800 Honeycrisp apple trees near Chilton, Wisconsin.

As the couple approached retirement, they considered what else they wanted to grow. The answer: Children's Wisconsin.

In 2018, they established an estate gift from Dean's retirement fund to create endowed funds for pharmacy and nursing. "We spent so much time there and we really enjoyed Children's Wisconsin," Dean said. "It felt right to give back to Children's Wisconsin."

Dean spent his career working with life-saving chemotherapy drugs for countless patients and was also involved in research on the effectiveness of treatments. "I got to know all the oncologists and had a great group of people to work with," said Dean, who retired earlier this year, a few years after Julie.

Julie began her nursing career on a general medical floor before moving into a surgical unit and then day surgery. "They do such good work at Children's Wisconsin, and you get so involved with families and patients," Julie noted.

The couple especially appreciated the opportunity to work with Foundation staff to direct their gift to the areas closest to their hearts.

"It feels good to give," Julie said.