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Daryl Stuermer of Genesis to support Aurora Cancer Care in Grafton

Daryl Stuermer (center, wearing black) with his family

Daryl Stuermer has been playing guitar since the age of 11. He was born and raised in St. Francis, WI, but in 1978, at 26 years old, Daryl began touring the world with legendary rock band, Genesis.

Later, when the band’s lead singer, Phil Collins, went out on his own, Daryl went with him. He played on iconic songs like “In the Air Tonight” and “One more Night.”

Along the way, Daryl married his wife, Michaela, and they settled down in the Milwaukee area with their two daughters. Daryl continued to join both bands on tour, making music and memories to last a lifetime. But now, as he looks around at all the instruments and musical pieces he’s collected over the years, he’s ready to clean house and share those uniquely personal items for a good cause. He has signed letters of authenticity to sell 142 guitars, amps and other items on an online auction site, learn more here.

“These are things I’ve used on Genesis tours or Phil Collins tours and albums. Someone may have been at a particular show and recognize the guitar I was playing,” Daryl shared.

What makes selling them a little easier is that he’s donating a portion of the proceeds to the Aurora Cancer Care Clinic at Aurora Medical Center in Grafton.

“It’s an opportunity to do something good and it’s a cause that’s really personal to me,” Daryl said.

Daryl chose Aurora Cancer Care because he wants to help more people like his wife, Michaela.

“My diagnosis with breast cancer was in October 2017. I went through the winter with treatment and it was grueling,” Michaela shared. At first, Michaela’s diagnosis was at stage one, but after surgery and testing her lymph nodes, it progressed to stage three/four.

Michaela and Daryl Stuermer

The fight of her life

Daryl went with Michaela to her treatments at Aurora Cancer Care in Grafton. But about five weeks into her therapy, he had to leave for a world tour. Knowing she was in such incredible hands made it easier for Daryl to leave, “I almost didn’t go, but everyone there was so comforting and so personable. It helped to keep you out of the dark places.”

That was a real struggle for Michaela, too. A typically outgoing and communicative person, Michaela was overwhelmingly sad. “Chemotherapy had a much greater effect on me mentally and emotionally than I thought it would,” she shared.

Her oncologist, Dr. John Maul, realized she was having a reaction to the steroids she was taking, so he changed her treatment. That, and the integrative medicine therapies offered at the cancer clinic, made a world of a difference.

“Acupuncture helped. Reiki was a Godsend some days. And, art therapy helped me tremendously; I’ve now started painting again,” Michaela shared. “It all helped bring about a calmness and change in my mindset. I went from thinking ‘I’m taking this poison,’ to thinking, ‘This is healing gold in my veins.’”

How the auction and your support can help patients like Michaela

The integrative medicine therapies that helped Michaela through her cancer journey are offered at low or no cost to cancer patients, thanks to donor support. It’s something that makes Advocate Aurora Health truly unique.

“Most hospitals know how to treat the body when it comes to cancer, but your mind and soul go dark and you need other things to help you through that ordeal. I call them complementary therapies because it’s not replacing your chemo or treatment, it’s complementing it,” Michaela explained.

A variety of integrative therapies are offered at Aurora Cancer Care clinics. Availability varies by location but combining any of these therapies can create an empowering, personalized experience that can enhance your body’s ability to heal, build resilience and manage treatment side effects. The goal is to provide more of them to more patients at more clinics free of charge. That’s what motivated Daryl to hold his auction.

“The support she received with these treatments was so helpful. Nothing is easy when it comes to cancer, but when you have confidence in the care, that makes such a difference,” Daryl said.

“I know if Aurora gets more funds they can get more of these services in more locations. So that’s what I want to do – help other people through it,” Michaela said.

You can help make sure more patients like Michaela have access to integrative therapies that help them heal. Go to give.aurora.org/grafton to support cancer patients at Aurora Medical Center in Grafton or make a gift to support a hospital or program in your community.