I met Mario “Motts” Tonelli when I was a trainee at lakeside VA hospital. I had the privilege of caring for him through my fellowship and into my career as a junior attending. I was with him the night he passed away and was witness to a life that was filled with courage and dignity until the end. Mario had many set-backs and sacrifices throughout his long 86 years on this planet, but he always made a comeback and that is the lesson he taught me.
I still think about Motts every day and each year on Veterans Day I celebrate his legacy by having a celebration or some type of event. Last year, we were able to name our Northwestern Esophageal Function Lab after him. This year, we will be having a benefit called KO for Kids! to support the Motts 58 Foundation for kids to help combat violence in Chicago. I will even be stepping into the ring to box a match! It is a small event, but certainly something Mario would be proud of and something worth celebrating.
Check back next week to see photos and video of Dr. Pandolfino knocking one out for charity to honor his patient!