Ardi Forrester’s Story

"Everyone has been so kind, nonjudgmental and compassionate." - Ardi Forrester

Ardi Forrester loved her 50 years of working as a nurse. She was a caregiver by nature and spent much of her career providing comfort to hospice patients. That’s why it was so difficult when a cancer diagnosis reversed Ardi’s role and compelled her to accept care instead of give it.

Just as 71-year-old Ardi started to enjoy the freedom and flexibility of retirement, she found a lump in her breast. She was certain it was cancer, and her doctor confirmed it with a diagnosis of advanced Stage 3 breast cancer.

“I thought I could handle the care myself but, after speaking with my doctor, I quickly learned that I was going to need help,” Ardi recalled. Ardi’s family began treatment planning immediately. After looking into care options in her home state of South Dakota, Ardi ultimately came to the Twin Cities—where she found ample treatment choices and plenty of family members to support her along the way.

As long-standing supporters of Ridgeview Foundation, Ardi’s family called on Ridgeview to discuss options. “When health care is needed by one of your family members, you go to the people you trust,” explained Randy Schneewind, Ardi’s son-in-law.

Ardi and her family visited Ridgeview in Waconia for an initial consultation. After they met the oncology specialists and toured the facility, they knew it was a good fit. “We liked what we heard at Ridgeview and trusted the health care professionals we met,” recalled Michael Forrester, Ardi’s son.“Ridgeview has a small-town feel with the sophistication of big-city medicine.”

Families like Ardi’s appreciate Ridgeview’s consolidated and integrated oncology approach. Minnesota Oncology & Ridgeview Cancer & Infusion Center provides the most comprehensive, convenient oncology/hematology and specialty infusion care in the region. A variety of specialists work together to meet the individual needs of each patient and ensure the best-possible outcome. Ardi received personalized options for her cancer treatment, with detailed information to help her with treatment decisions. After careful consideration, Ardi, with the support of her team of doctors and family members, decided to move forward with surgery to remove the cancer.

Dr. Kevin Taylor, general surgeon, Lakeview Clinic, Ltd., demonstrated the high-quality and compassionate care for which Ridgeview is known. “He’s one of the best. He is a skilled and talented surgeon,” said Katherine Forrester-Schneewind, Ardi’s daughter. “The extra care, concern and love he showed our mom surpassed every possible expectation.”

The most difficult part of Ardi’s journey began after surgery, during the five months of chemotherapy. Ardi and her family are thankful that Dr. Nicole Hartung, an oncologist with Minnesota Oncology, was with them every step of the way.

“Dr. Hartung was fantastic and such a blessing to our family,” Katherine said. “The whole team at Minnesota Oncology & Ridgeview Cancer & Infusion Center made the most difficult experience asseamless as possible with the great care they provided.”

When Ardi moved into the radiation phase of her treatment plan, there were many unknowns. Dr. Paul Sperduto and the staff at Minneapolis Radiation Oncology kept Ardi and her family well informed and explained the treatment in detail.

Ardi’s family is extremely grateful to the Ridgeview staff and specialists for shepherding them through this difficult diagnosis with expert care and endless kindness.

“When a loved one hears ‘you have cancer,’ you are faced with anxiety, lack of knowledge and concern, but you need to figure out how to pull it together for the best-possible outcome,” Katherine explained. “Each and every person who was part of this process at Ridgeview helped us through Mom’s cancer diagnosis and treatment in a way that made it effortless and comforting. We are so thankful.” Ridgeview offered to transfer Ardi’s care back to South Dakota to her local hospital. But Ardi decided to come to Ridgeview for her remaining appointments. “I’ve never been let down for a minute during my recovery process,” Ardi said. “Everyone has been so kind, nonjudgmental and compassionate.”

Now that she has been given a clean bill of health, Ardi is looking forward to enjoying her retirement at home in South Dakota. She’ll be back to Zumba class, yoga and even training for her 12th half marathon next June. “I’m really excited that I’ve been given the allclear,” Ardi said. “I feel so lucky. I’m truly blessed.”

Ardi’s extended family has aided Ridgeview Foundation for many years, and they are excited to support Ridgeview in the future. “The level of health care—in combination with the compassionate staff—just can’t be replicated,” Randy said. “Ridgeview has some of the best technology and cutting-edge equipment because of our generous community.”

Your support of Ridgeview Foundation makes a profound difference for community members—like Ardi and her family—who have health care needs.

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