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Children's Wisconsin Appleton Clinic 1 year anniversary Van Schyndel family

How the new Appleton Clinic is making life easier for families in Northeast Wisconsin

Mandy and Jeremy Van Schyndel have something of a hectic life — one overflowing with family, love … and doctor appointments. 

But thanks to the new Children’s Wisconsin Appleton Clinic, which opened a year ago, at least that one part of their lives has found some relief.  

Children's Wisconsin Appleton Clinic 1 year anniversary Van Schyndel familyMandy and Jeremy have five children — Trenton, 14, Tenley, 12, Talon, 9, Emma, 7, and Tay, 5. Emma and Tay were both fostered and eventually adopted by the family at young ages. And they both have multiple, complicated medical conditions. 

“They are both very medically complex, but in different ways,” said Mandy. “Emma is more neuro related while Tay is more orthopedic.”

While in the womb, Emma suffered two strokes, and then a third shortly after she was born. She was eventually diagnosed with cerebral palsy and an aggressive form of epilepsy known as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome.

“She was actually sent home on hospice at 10 days old,” said Mandy. “But she's here and she experiences a quality life full of joy and lots of adventures.”

Tay was born with both of his femurs not fully developed, a condition known as proximal femoral focal deficiency, as well as Pierre Robin sequence, a deformity of the jaw. After he was born at a hospital in Green Bay, he was airlifted to the Children’s Wisconsin Milwaukee Hospital where he spent time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. The specialists who saw him through those early days still care for him today. 

All told, Emma and Tay see specialists in audiology, dental, endocrinology, ear, nose and throat, occupational therapy, orthopedics, pulmonology, surgery, urology and more. As a result, Mandy and Jeremy found themselves making the nearly-two-hour drive from their home in Kaukauna, Wisconsin, to the Children’s Wisconsin Milwaukee Hospital multiple times a week. 

That all changed in March 2023, when the new Appleton Clinic opened. Most of those weekly appointments were moved to the Appleton Clinic. Of the 10 specialists Emma sees regularly, seven see patients in Appleton. For Tay, it’s four out of five. What used to be a two-hour drive for care is now barely 15 minutes. In fact, the family now only needs to travel to Milwaukee maybe once a month. 

Children's Wisconsin Appleton Clinic 1 year anniversary Van Schyndel family“It's made a huge impact,” said Mandy. “We're an active family. We have a lot of kids and a lot of activities and it's made a lot more time for those things. When we had an appointment in Milwaukee, it was an all-day thing and the kids were missing so much school.” 

Though the Appleton Clinic is new, Children’s Wisconsin has been committed to the families of the Fox Valley for more than 20 years. From just eight rooms in the early 2000s, the new Appleton Clinic is a state-of-the-art, 56,000 square-foot medical center that offers more than 23 specialty services — including Child Life — and an exceptional experience for kids and families. Since the clinic welcomed its first patient on March 6, 2023, there have been more than 27,000 visits. 

“The new Appleton Clinic has really improved the patient experience,” said Benjamin Escott, MD, an orthopedic surgeon who has been caring for both Emma and Tay for most of their lives, first in Milwaukee and now in Appleton. “Simple things like getting an X-ray, in the past would take an hour because the patient had to travel to a different location. Now, it’s maybe 15 minutes.”

Every year, Children’s Wisconsin supports approximately 50,000 visits from kids who live in Northeast and Central Wisconsin, as well as the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Before the Appleton Clinic opened, only about 20,000 of those appointments could take place in the region — the rest needed to travel to Milwaukee. The impact it’s made on these families has been immeasurable.  

“These families are so grateful,” said Dr. Escott. “They are so happy and relieved because it's easy parking, it's easy access, it's right off the interstate and it saves hours and hours for these families. The Appleton Clinic has really given families in the Northeast, Appleton, Fox Valley, Green Bay and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan easy access to the multidisciplinary care that we provide at Children's Wisconsin.” 

“The Appleton Clinic,” Mandy said simply, “has been an amazing blessing.”