SJF Website Patient Stories

Patient stories of healing and gratitude

At St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, a diverse group of donors supports our ministry through a variety of ways—annual donations, grants, planned and estate gifts, and by attending events. We, and the patients we serve, are forever grateful. Here are a few of their stories. For even more stories, check out our St. Joseph's Magazine archives.

SJF_ Website_Donor & Patient Stories image Ari Abalos

Collegiate softball player is back in the game

Arcadia High School graduate, Ari Abalos, was experiencing unusual pain in her right shoulder, and was later diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome — a relatively rare condition becoming more common now among MLB pitchers. Dr. Samad Hashimi, a thoracic surgeon at Norton Thoracic Institute, restored Ari’s throwing arm after a successful operation, helping her lead the PSU Vikings to the Big Sky Conference championship and a berth in the NCAA tournament!

Now Ari plans to go into the "medical field" big leagues studying health sciences.


SJF_ Website_Donor & Patient Stories image_Rachel Retegan

A St. Joseph’s first: Kidney transplant patient gives birth

This Mother’s Day was a very special one for Rachel Retegan of Cornville, Ariz., St. Joseph’s first patient to deliver a baby at the hospital after undergoing a kidney transplant. Rachel, 34, was was diagnosed with kidney disease related to hypertension following a routine exam and lab results. She relied on dialysis for a number of years and then received the gift of life with a kidney transplant at St. Joseph’s in 2019. Now, she couldn’t be more grateful for the care she received to save her life and bring Ava into the world.

“The team at St. Joseph’s—from the transplant professionals to the nursery ICU specialists—is absolutely incredible!”


SJF_ Website_Donor Stories image Spradlin

Mike Spradlin organizes first annual 'Breath Day' golf tournament

Lung transplant recipient Mike Spradlin and his partner Sara Martz were so grateful for the care he received from the Norton Thoracic Institute that they organized the first annual 'Breath Day' golf tournament one year after Mike’s operation to raise money to offset costs for other patients undergoing the same procedure in the future. The tournament, hosted in Fruita, Colo., raised nearly $25,000 by bringing the couple’s family and friends together for golf and barbecue favorites.

“We saw firsthand just how quickly the expenses not covered by insurance can add up,” Mike says, “so we hope to raise money that will relieve some of the financial burden for others waiting for, and recovering from, a transplant.”


SJF_ Website_Donor Stories image Peck

Grateful dentist Mark Peck gives back after lung transplant

Mark Peck, DDS, was training to hike Mt. Everest when he became deathly ill, so sick that only a lung transplant could save him. Although his condition was extremely complex, he underwent a successful double lung transplant procedure in April 2021. During his recovery, he and his wife, Marie, made a pledge to match donations up to $50,000 to support the lung transplant program at Norton Thoracic Institute, leading to a total of $100,000 raised for the program.

“I am super grateful to the doctors and nurses and everyone at the Norton at St. Joseph’s,” he says. “They saved my life, probably more than once. I am extremely fortunate.”