Dedicated to volunteering to help our foundation grow and give back to the community

Breath of Life Foundation was founded with the intent to assist families in Wisconsin in fighting their battle with Cystic Fibrosis.

Despite living a life of adversity, Lauren Arkens gracefully exuded the determination and tenacity required to defy the odds of someone diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) in 1984. With a prescribed life expectancy in the mid-teens, this young woman took her terminal illness the distance. She achieved the only known “cure” for CF – a double lung transplant. And through it all, Lauren lived her life, her way, on her own terms.

As a mother, wife, college graduate, competitive athlete, business owner in the Green Bay community, and the Co-Founder of our Foundation, Lauren was determined to leave her mark on a world that did not immediately accept her wish to live fully.

Through Lauren’s direct involvement from the very beginning of our Foundation in the Fall of 2016, we began to thrive in and around the Cystic Fibrosis communities in MilwaukeeMadison, and Green Bay. Lauren’s personal experience with CF provided insight into what patients and families needed to really begin to live a life while living with CF. Through collaboration, we began to make a real impact in patients and families’ lives.

Lauren’s sudden and abrupt passing in April 2019 due to complications related to her transplant brought even greater clarity to our focus — help real people live a robust, meaningful life with Cystic Fibrosis. It is our hope that Lauren’s story, and the stories of those we help will motivate you to help us continue her beautiful legacy for years and years to come.

Today, with the memory of Lauren and her legacy guiding everything we do, our Foundation continues to make an impact by filling in the gaps patients and families need, in an effort to promote a higher quality of life. We continue to support financial assistance for medications, additional treatments, nutritional supplements, medical equipment, utilities, travel, lodging, and other common ancillary costs that make daily life even harder to live.

In Memoriam

Lauren Arkens (1984-2019)

We want to help your family with your CF journey.

Our Board oF Directors

Geralyn Hartman - President | Breath of Life Foundation

Geralyn Hartman

President

Tyler Arkens - Vice President | Breath of Life Foundation

Tyler Arkens

Vice President

Sherry Lamers-Eisch - Treasurer | Breath of Life Foundation

Sherry Lamers-Eisch

Treasurer

Stephanie Willems - Secretary | Breath of Life Foundation

Stephanie Willems

Secretary

Connie Greenawald - Director | Breath of Life Foundation

Connie Greenawald

Director

Don Noskowiak - Director | Breath of Life Foundation

Don Noskowiak

Director

Suzanne Kowalczyk - Director | Breath of Life Foundation

Suzanne Kowalczyk

Director

Pat Geigel - Director | Breath of Life Foundation

Pat Geigel

DIRECTOR

Julie Gile - Marketing & Brand Development | Breath of Life Foundation

Julie Gile

Marketing & Brand Development

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Contact Us

Breath of Life Foundation
W5726 Firelane 12
Menasha, WI 54952

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Geralyn Hartman

PRESIDENT

Geralyn Hartman - President | Breath of Life Foundation

Geralyn is proud to call herself Lauren’s Mom and quick to say it was a privilege to raise her strong-willed daughter who lived boldly for 34 years while battling Cystic Fibrosis. Although Lauren’s time on earth was short, she accomplished much and is missed immensely. Working with the Breath of Life Foundation is Geralyn’s way to honor Lauren’s dreams and carry on her legacy.

Geralyn knows the ups and downs CF inflicts on a family’s life; it’s something they have to deal with each and every day. For that reason, CF patients and families, as well as the mission of the Foundation, will always have a special place in her heart.

A hairstylist for 43 years, Geralyn has spent 20+ years of her career self-employed as it offered more flexibility to support Lauren and be part of the fight against CF. She was at the forefront of CF fundraising efforts in Northeastern Wisconsin for many years, sitting on the 65 Roses Board in Green Bay, and serving as chair of the Great Strides walk in Appleton for 20 years, efforts which raised several hundred thousand dollars.

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TYLER ARKENS

VICE PRESIDENT

Tyler Arkens - Vice President | Breath of Life Foundation

Tyler affectionately calls himself, “Lauren Hartman’s husband.” Since the fall of 2003 you would typically find him right next to Lauren, in the fight together, side by side. Sometimes as the motivator, sometimes he’s giving everyone the good or bad news and sometimes he just has to stop and listen. When Lauren received her transplant in 2015, it was just a dream to help others in the Cystic Fibrosis community. Now, with the help of the board and some strategic partners this little vision has become a reality.

Now the owner of Green Bay Floral and Greenhouse, Tyler also brings ten years of sales and marketing experience to the Foundation. He is the proud father to Lauren’s mini-me. Living with two of the toughest, most inspirational people he knows, Tyler simply tries to keep up…

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SHERRY LAMERS-EISCH

TREASURER

Sherry Lamers-Eisch - Treasurer | Breath of Life Foundation

Sherry has worked in the transportation industry for over 20 years. Currently the Controller at Lamers Bus Lines she works as the Foundation’s Treasurer.

She says that after losing her mother at an early age to lung disease she wanted to find a non-profit to get involved in that would help people live longer, fuller lives. Sherry met Tyler and Lauren Arkens through their church while Sherry was a catechist. When she heard Lauren’s story and saw how passionate the Arkens were to help others with Cystic Fibrosis, she knew she had found the right non-profit organization for her. Sherry’s background is in accounting, so when Tyler and Lauren asked her to be the treasurer she was honored to step into that role.

Sherry is a mother of five and feels it’s very important to teach her kids the importance of volunteering. Through her volunteer work with the Breath of Life Foundation she has been able to do just that. She is also very grateful for all of the amazing families and volunteers she has met at Breath of Life Foundation’s various events.

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STEPHANIE WILLEMS

SECRETARY

Stephanie Willems - Secretary | Breath of Life Foundation

Stephanie has worked in Human Resources, Supply Chain, and Project Management at Schreiber Foods for the past 12 years.

Stephanie first met Lauren as a coworker in college where they quickly became friends. Prior to meeting Lauren, Stephanie had never heard of Cystic Fibrosis. She remembers being immediately amazed at Lauren’s courage, strength, and perseverance. She says, “On the outside, you wouldn’t have known Lauren was sick and she certainly never let on the personal struggles she and her family endured to keep up with her health.”

As a longtime friend of Lauren’s, personally witnessing a life of ups and downs, she has come to see the positive impact she can have in helping others with Cystic Fibrosis.

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CONNIE GREENAWALD

DIRECTOR

Connie Greenawald - Director | Breath of Life Foundation

Connie is the Communications Director at First Presbyterian Church of Green Bay, with more than 30 years of communications, events, and leadership experience. She has held positions at several area non-profit and for-profit organizations. Besides serving as Secretary for Breath of the Life Foundation’s Board of Directors, she also volunteers as a Citizen Advocate for Kate Parizek, and for the American Foundation of Counseling Services’ marketing committee.

Her passion for the Breath of Life Foundation began many years ago with involvement in the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the 65 Roses Board of Directors, as well as getting to know several young people with CF through friends. Assisting in raising funds during Lauren Arkens’ double lung transplant, Connie learned more fully than ever before about the many difficulties faced by CF patients on a daily basis.

Connie is married to Scott and living in Abrams, they have five children and 10 grandchildren between them. Connie enjoys bicycling, reading, and spending time with family.

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DON NOSKOWIAK

DIRECTOR

Don Noskowiak - Director | Breath of Life Foundation

Don is an accomplished senior financial executive with over 30 years of broad based financial and operational experience. His breadth of expertise includes oversight of finance, accounting, HR, IT and business development while holding positions of CFO, VP Finance/Business Development, Controller, and President. Don has also worked as a CPA and Consultant.

Having watched the progression of someone with CF culminate with double lung transplants, propelling them to a renewed spirit and life, Don could think of nothing better than to truly assist those with needs so that they may have the opportunity to realize a similar dream.

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SUZANNE KOWALCZYK

DIRECTOR

Suzanne Kowalczyk - Director | Breath of Life Foundation

Suzanne has earned both a bachelor and master degree in social work and currently works as an advanced practice social worker at HSHS St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay. She has worked as a medical social worker for over 17 years in a large variety of areas within the hospital including pediatrics and the Emergency Department. Suzanne currently serves patients in the areas of oncology and cystic fibrosis. Suzanne joined the St. Vincent cystic fibrosis clinic team in 2012 and cares for both pediatric and adult patients.

Caring directly for cystic fibrosis patients, Suzanne witnesses first-hand the life challenges that individuals with a chronic illness face including the family and financial stressors. Suzanne has a strong passion to help individuals receive the medical care needed without causing significant financial hardship.

Suzanne is married to Mike and resides in West De Pere. They are busy raising three children and two dogs.

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Pat Geigel

DIRECTOR

Pat Geigel - Director | Breath of Life Foundation

Pat Geigel is a retired educator with 36 years of teaching experience at the high school and college level. Forty years of basketball coaching experience complemented his passion for educating the whole person. Now retired, Pat spends his time conducting tours of Lambeau Field and delivering flowers for Tyler at Green Bay Floral.

For over half his life, he has volunteered his officiating skills for Special Olympics, officiating local, state, national and international competitions. In addition to serving on the BOL Board, Pat also collaborates with the people running the BOL Golf Outing. Assisting with the Breath of Life Foundation provides Pat the opportunity to aid those with needed resources to continue to live a fruitful life.

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JULIE GILE

MARKETING & BRAND DEVELOPMENT

MARKETING &
BRAND DEVELOPMENT

Julie Gile - Marketing & Brand Development | Breath of Life Foundation

Julie hangs her hat in the Brand Development space. She is an accomplished Brand Photographer and Commercial Photography Stylist. She tells the story behind businesses so people can connect with them. She will be assisting the Foundation with social media, marketing, email marketing, and scheduling as well as photography.