Shelly’s Story

Site created on March 6, 2021

Welcome to Shelly's CaringBridge website. Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers and continuous support for our family. We created this website to help provide regular updates to friends and family as they come. In the meantime, the background journal entry may help provide you with more details. 

As we all know, Shelly is a truly special person with an unmatchable heart and spirit. We have been overwhelmed with the influx of support from so many people who deeply love her and have been impacted by her. We hope we can provide positive updates throughout this journey, and thank you again. 

Please, no need to donate in any form—but sharing well wishes, funny memories, or anything relating to Shelly is much appreciated. 

Newest Update

Journal entry by Kaila Ruppel

Hi - this is Shelly.  First, thank you all for your prayers and support these past two weeks.  It feels incredible to be home and I’m grateful to be alive.  

We now know the cause of what took me from being a healthy woman to near death in only a few days. Apparently a blocked bile duct caused inflammation to my pancreas, leading to it essentially attacking my blood resulting in multiple organ failure.  Crazy, right?

I am very blessed and it’s important to me to tell my family how much I appreciate them for all they have done.  

Kaila flew from Denver to Milwaukee only three hours after I was admitted into the ICU.  She booked a one way ticket and said she wasn’t going back until I was 100%.  Kaila, I love you so much and am so grateful to have you here at such a difficult time.  Also, thank you Andre for being there for her and for me. 

Matt immediately worked with St. Luke’s and his leadership to get expedited leave, and flew home from Germany 48 hours after I was moved to St. Luke’s.  Because of his military status he was allowed to bypass the COVID rules and was one of only three people allowed in my room.  He is now taking credit for my recovery telling the story of holding my hand for hours after the doctors told my family I had less than a 50% chance to live, and saying to me that it was time for my stubbornness to come out.   He says it’s no coincidence that things started to turn around the next day.  Matt - you have no idea how much you mean to me.  Also, thank you Adriana for helping get Matt here and for the support while he was away. 

To my Dad, my brother, his wife Erin, and my nieces Vivian & Vanessa, and my nephew Jack...your love and support meant the world to me.  I know it was hard for you not to be allowed into the hospital, but I felt like you were always with me. 

I want to thank my mom for spending so many hours with me at the hospital and ICU.  I can only imagine how hard it must have been for a mother to hold it together seeing her daughter struggling so hard and feeling so much discomfort and pain.  But you showed incredible strength and it gave me the resolve I needed to get through.  You are amazing.  

Most importantly, to my husband Dave, who never left my side, there is no way I would be here today without you.  There are no words to express how much your love and support has meant over the past two weeks.  I love you so much.  

Thanks again to all of you for taking the time to check into this site and provide so much support.  I truly could feel your prayers and it gave me the energy I needed to fight and recover.  I am truly blessed to have so many friends and family in my life.  I could go on and on thanking so many of you, but this is already starting to sound like an Oscars speech. 

This is likely the last update you’ll see, but feel free to reach out to me directly.  

Much love,


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