University of Wisconsin–Madison

Archive: Inspired by her sons’ illnesses, a Merrill mother helps raise awareness for leukemia and Graves’ disease

Twenty-two years ago, Beth Anne Rekowski lost her 4-year-old son, Kyle, to leukemia. Since then, she has been using social media and other outreach channels to raise awareness for the disease and offering support to other parents who have lost children. When illness struck her family again — this time, her youngest child, 16-year-old Mikey, was diagnosed with the thyroid disorder Graves’ disease — Beth Anne again turned her family’s struggle into a way to help other people.

Beth Anne and her family sought treatment for Mikey from the UW Department of Surgery’s Rebecca Sippel, MD, an endocrine specialist with experience in thyroid removal in pediatric patients. Since Mikey’s successful treatment for the disease, Beth Anne has recruited Dr. Sippel to help her in a growing advocacy network that educates parents about childhood Graves’ disease.

You can read more about Beth Anne and her work in this recent article on