Future nurse making a difference in the lives of others
Interview with Tim Lautenslager
Class of October 2018
Fifteen-month nursing student Tim Lautenslager has overcome adversity that will allow him to be the caring, empathetic nurse most patients want. Lautenslager worked for three years in Detroit, Mich. as a nuclear medicine technologist after graduating from Ferris State University with a bachelor’s degree. While researching the variety of specialties and the areas of nursing available, he decided to move back home to Green Bay, Wis. to earn his Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Originally from Green Bay, Lautenslager knew about the 15-month program at Bellin College and thought the fast-track program was the best fit for him.
In April 2017, when he was a student at Bellin College, Lautenslager learned his best childhood friend, Jordan Olson, was diagnosed with melanoma cancer. By the time Olson started treatment, his cancer had metastasized and spread to other organs in his body. He learned he only had six months to live at the young age of 30. Lautenslager was devastated to hear this news and wanted to do anything he could to help his friend. Musky fishing was always one of their favorite things to do together. Lautenslager’s brother, Jeff, suggested a musky tournament as a benefit for Olson.
While immersed in the 15-month program, Lautenslager took on the challenge of organizing and planning the musky tournament, called the Jordan Olson Musky Derby, in just six weeks. The goal was to raise $10,000 and register 30 boats for the event. After receiving national publicity, the tournament grew beyond their expectations, raising more than $32,000 with 57 registered boats. This success gave Lautenslager the confidence to turn the event into an annual fundraiser for melanoma cancer research. In fact, Lautenslager is establishing a local non-profit for the cause in Green Bay called Fishing for a Cure. Olson received numerous drug treatments, surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, but being in stage four and metastatic, the cancer took his life in December 2017. Lautenslager was grateful to spend the last few months with his friend fishing and making memories together. The hope for the non-profit is to honor Olson’s memory and the importance of early skin cancer detection and prevention.
In addition to nursing school and planning the annual fundraiser, Lautenslager is also writing his first book and training for his first marathon.
“Growing up on a farm, I didn’t make the best meal choices,” said Lautenslager. “My poor eating habits resulted in obesity at a young age.”
With working toward becoming a nurse practitioner, Lautenslager focused on his weight and lost more than 150 pounds. High blood pressure and heart rate readings encouraged him to make changes towards a healthier lifestyle. Incorporating exercise and healthy eating habits allowed him to lose weight quickly and keep it off.
“After seeing results, I thought, if I can do this, others struggling with weight loss can too,” said Lautenslager.
This journey has inspired Lautenslager to write a book titled, “362 to 26.2.” His book will document his weight loss journey and training for the Green Bay Cellcom Marathon. Lautenslager has already seen how his journey and struggles will impact others.
“During a nursing clinical at Bellin Health, an overly obese patient who was only 35 years of age was scheduled to have open-heart bypass surgery,” explained Lautenslager. “I had the opportunity to connect with the patient to share my experience. I was also able to develop a nutrition plan for the patient,” said Lautenslager. “My book aims to help people lose weight and feel better. If I can help a handful of people or inspire them, that’s what matters. As a nurse, I can’t wait to help more people and share my story, and that will continue to be my focus once I become a nurse practitioner,” said Lautenslager
As a future nurse, philanthropist and advocate, Lautenslager will make a difference in the lives of others. He is in his last six months of the 15-month BSN program while also planning the next musky tournament, scheduled for Sept. 29, 2018. Lautenslager hopes to raise $50,000 this year and $100,000 the following year.
“Jordan was the best person I ever met. He would do anything for anyone and do it for free. The good ones go early they say. When people asked Jordan why he fishes, he said it’s for the smile. The smile he gets, the smile the people he takes fishing get, it’s all about the happiness. I am excited to see where this can go,” said Lautenslager.
If you want to learn how you can help make the Second Annual Jordan Olson Musky Derby a success, contact Tim Lautenslager at firstname.lastname@example.org or (920) 321-6060 for more information.