Honoree Testimonials

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Testimonials from Past Honorees

"Being a part of the 2023 Milwaukee's Finest Program was one of the most rewarding and humbling experiences. I was able to connect with like-minded young adults in the community to raise money and awareness for a disease that impacts the lives of people around us. Getting to interact with the families, tour the hospital facilities, and connect with the incredible staff at the CF Foundation gave me a better perspective and viewpoint on what it is like to live with CF. I am beyond thankful for my family, friends, and colleagues who took time out of their day to support my fundraising goals and for donating back to a cause that I care so much about. I could not have asked for a better experience with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and plan to continue to stay involved with the foundation until CF stands for cure found."
Elyssa Tracy, PwC

“I am extremely grateful for getting the opportunity to participate in the Milwaukee's Finest program in 2022. It was a very impactful and humbling experience that allowed me to use my network to help give back to an incredibly deserving community. The in-depth program, especially connecting with a family affected by CF, allowed me to really embrace the experience and feel connected to those who are impacted by CF. I was surrounded by extremely generous and supporting people and was successfully able to raise awareness and funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. I am thankful for all of the wonderful people I met along the way and everyone who supported me to help find a cure for CF.”
~ Meghan Carroll, PwC

“Being a part of the 2021 Milwaukee’s Finest program was both rewarding and inspiring. Not only did it allow a group of young professionals to join together for a very worthy cause, but it also pushed me outside of my comfort zone and helped me grow as a person. I was truly inspired by the generosity of my friends, family, and the community during the campaign, especially during the pandemic, and enjoyed making new connections in the CF community. I highly encourage anyone to make the commitment to be a part of Milwaukee’s Finest, as it will change your life and the lives of many impacted by CF.”
~ Stephanie Gerber, Children’s Wisconsin/Medical College of Wisconsin

“The Milwaukee’s Finest program literally changes lives! For us as honorees, it was a unique chance to spread awareness and gain financial support of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s mission. For affected families, it continues to provide funds for groundbreaking research, drug therapy, and access to individualized care. It was overwhelmingly impressive to witness such a supportive response from friends, family, and the community when asked to contribute to this incredibly worthy organization. Thanks to the research and medical advances made possible by this foundation, individuals with CF have a promising opportunity to live long, productive lives. To anyone considering participating: I’d recommend you make the commitment and do it!”

~ Megan Van Lieshout, The Fun Kids Dentist

“My time spent as part of Milwaukee's Finest was a highlight of my year.  I thoroughly enjoyed getting to connect with like-minded individuals like myself and not only raise funds for a great cause, but gain a deeper understanding of the impact those funds will have on the people affected by this disease.   All of the programming, from meeting with a family impacted by CF to getting a tour at Children's Hospital, was a unique aspect of the program that made it more meaningful as I raised money for this cause.  I am grateful for the opportunity and encourage everyone that can to get involved in this great program!”
~ Megan Reardon, PwC

“Being part of the 2018 Cystic Fibrosis Milwaukee’s Finest was a life changing opportunity that I am grateful for. The competition introduces you to amazing families, strong children combatting this awful disease, and a village of like-minded professionals wanting to make CF stand for ‘cure found’. Through the Finest competition I was able to meet Jacob, a hilarious and compassionate 5 year old boy who has Cystic Fibrosis. He is raised by incredible parents who taught me more about Cystic Fibrosis than I thought possible. Through the events I was able to educate and raise awareness about Cystic Fibrosis with my family, friends and co-workers about the research and drug development being done by the Foundation.  I am thankful for all of the generous people from all different stages of life who came to raise awareness and who donated to help find a cure for CF.”
~ Korina Harman, EY

“Participating in the 2018 Milwaukee’s Finest Program was an incredibly rewarding experience. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation introduced me to some of the strongest children and families I’ve ever met as well as a fantastic cohort of young professionals looking to make a difference. The program was both educational on the effects and treatments of Cystic Fibrosis, and inspirational in the collective efforts of once strangers working toward a worthy cause. Fundraising for this organization was not only fun but an honor to share these stories with my friends, family, professional network, and community. I could not be more grateful for the opportunity and excited for future Finest classes!”
~ Ali Vickstrom, HUSCO International

"Participating in the 2017 Cystic Fibrosis Milwaukee’s Finest event was one of the most rewarding and fulfilling experiences of which I have ever been a part. Prior to being nominated, I had heard about CF but I did not know the specifics about the disease. Through this experience I learned so much about the disease, how it impacts individuals and their families and the daily efforts required to keep up with the disease. I was paired up with Neely, a CF fighter and one of the most energetic and sweet 7-year-olds you could meet, after being nominated as one of Milwaukee’s Finest. Neely stole my heart based on how she faces CF head-on and always maintains a smile, so I was more than happy to raise money to help find the cure for CF.

The Milwaukee’s Finest event also connects you with other young professionals in the Milwaukee area making it a fantastic networking opportunity through which I met many new individuals with different backgrounds and CF experiences. This program provided me with professional development opportunities and coaching lessons which I have used on a daily basis at work and at home. Overall, participating in this event was an amazing experience, and I look forward to staying connected with the CF Foundation."

~ Melinda Wiegele, Ernst & Young

“Being nominated for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s 2016 Milwaukee’s Finest was such an honor and an experience I will never forget.  Prior to being involved with the event I was not very familiar with CF and this experience opened my eyes to the unfortunate disease.  Touring the facilities, spending time with dear Payton and her family and participating in the CF Walk has forever left an impact on my heart.  As I was working hard to raise money to reach my fundraising goal, I was blown away by the support I received from my friends, family and colleagues.  It was such a cool experience to see the people committed to helping me achieve my goal.  I met so many amazing young professionals in the community who are passionate about making a difference.  This experience has deepened my love for philanthropy  and I hope to be a part of the CF family forever and I continue to support and pray for all those affected”.
~Morgan Kalinosky, Northwestern Mutual  

It was an honor to be nominated for the 2016 Milwaukee’s Finest by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. It provided a unique opportunity to meet and network with like-minded young professionals with shared goals not only for the foundation but also for Milwaukee. The families we were paired with and the education provided by the foundation were both inspiring and enriching. This opportunity certainly made a life-long impact on me and opened my eyes to the everyday struggles of too many families. Because of this amazing experience, I decided to extend my fundraising efforts and participated in this year’s Xtreme Hike. The amount I’ve been able to raise has been extremely humbling and I plan to continue my efforts and participation until CF stands for a “cure found.”
~ Jennifer Uttke, MPI

“Being nominated for the 2015 Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Milwaukee’s Finest was such an honorable and humbling experience.  This was a chance to be a part of something bigger than me--it was a chance to save people’s lives.  The experience is more gratifying than anything I could get out of a book, or see on tv.  While I came from a fundraising background, and even have close ties to cystic fibrosis, there were invaluable experiences to network and meet new people, and engage in some meaningful goal-setting opportunities that I have even used in my professional life.  I think that anyone having the privilege to be an honoree would have one of life’s greatest reward...to give the breath of life”.

~Lisa Hedrick, St. Bruno Parish School

“Being a part of the Milwaukee's Finest CF event has opened my eyes to the impact young professionals in Milwaukee can make on the lives of others. With limited funding to CF research, I have been inspired by those affected by CF to make a difference any way I can.   I made it my personal mission to inform as many people as I can about how we as a community can save and prolong the lives of those with CF.  I feel blessed to have met so many amazing families and inspirational people battling CF.  Being so involved with the fundraising was a humbling experience and I recommend anyone given the opportunity to take part in Milwaukee's Finest for CF to make the most of it and don't hold anything back”.  
~ Kevin Strong, Cardinal Stritch University

“Participating in the Milwaukee’s Finest Program was an incredibly enriching experience.  I was humbled to be included in such a great group of honorees.  Being paired with a CF Family helped me understand the disease and the great steps the CF Foundation is taking to find a cure.  While at times fundraising can be challenging, it pales in comparison to the daily struggles felt by those impacted by CF.  I was amazed by the generosity of friends, family and total strangers and I am proud to support this great cause”.    
~Mike Lauber, Ernst & Young LLP

“I believe there is a fleet of young professionals in Milwaukee who wish to be closely connected to their community and make a positive impact but don’t know where to start. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Milwaukee’s Finest event does a fantastic job of reaching out to those professionals and jump-starting a life-long commitment to philanthropy. I joined the 2014 Milwaukee’s Finest honorees knowing close to nothing about cystic fibrosis. This program gave me a thorough understanding of the disease, connected me to a CF family in my community and gave me valuable coaching on goal-setting and fundraising. I was able to apply my professional skills for an incredibly worthy cause and in the process expanded my network, connecting with many young altruistic professionals. Milwaukee’s Finest is a gem of an opportunity.”
~ Leah Wright, OS Inc.

“Participating in the Milwaukee’s Finest program was both a great honor and a truly eye opening experience.  While I do not know anyone personally affected by cystic fibrosis, I was fortunate enough to work with the Becker family and learn a great deal about the disease and the effect is has on so many people.  This was a truly humbling experience and I feel privileged that I was able to meet and work with so many family and young professionals to work towards curing this disease.”
~Kyle Schildkraut, Ernst & Young

“It was an honor to be nominated for the 2014 Milwaukee’s Finest Program by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  The Finest Program allowed me to make a difference and spread awareness about cystic fibrosis in the Milwaukee community, as well as learn about the CF Foundation and its mission.  I met so many great people as a result of this program, all working towards one common goal and mission of  finding a cure for this disease.  Through planning creative fundraising events, I was overwhelmed by how many people wanted to help in the fight towards a “cure found” and their generosity was nothing short of incredible.  The end result of working together as young professionals in the Milwaukee community to raise awareness and support for this cause was an amazing experience and one that I look forward to continuing to support.”
~Lisa Engel, Johnson Controls

"Participating in the Milwaukee's Finest event was a great experience. I met and worked with great people and learned a lot along the way about the disease, the CF Foundation, and about fundraising. It also helped me expand my network to people that I remain in touch with today. I enjoyed coming up with new ideas and developing them into events. I was amazed at how receptive and generous people could be and it made me feel great to support such a worthy cause."
~ Ray Poole, Eaton’s Cooper Power Systems

"I was incredibly honored to be nominated for the 2013 Milwaukee's Finest by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. While I am not personally affected or know someone who is affected by cystic fibrosis, I learned that it is a heartbreaking disease that with the support of research and generous donations, it is manageable - even curable! This event gave me the opportunity to work with other young professional leaders in the area who strive to make a difference in our community. I have found a cause that I can continue to support because I believe in its mission and the people who support it.”
~ Julie Gahl, Marcus Hotels & Resorts

“Milwaukee’s Finest was such a rewarding experience. Having been involved in the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in some capacity for many years prior, Milwaukee’s Finest was an entirely different experience for me that allowed more personal and professional growth, all while giving back to the community and CFF.  I also loved connecting with the cohort of honorees; it was so inspiring learning about all the different ways they demonstrated leadership in our community. Milwaukee’s Finest is a catalyst for many young professionals to become involved with the CFF, and fundraising in general, and I would wholeheartedly recommend Milwaukee’s Finest to any young professional!”
~ Molly McElligott, Johnson Controls