Family thankful for daughter’s miracle recovery

By | May 2, 2009



Michael and Jennifer Dombrowski are pictured with their children David, left, Nathaniel, Colin, Tiffany, and Isabel. (Photo courtesy of the Dombrowski family | For The Compass)

The miracle continues

Dombrowskis grateful to community. See additional story.

Then came the horrific accident on Lake Winnebago that nearly took the life of 7-year-old Tiffany. One morning, not long after the accident, while Tiffany was still at Children’s Hospital, her father, Michael, “woke up and said, ‘God I can’t handle this. I’m too scared to talk to anybody because they don’t know me.’ I said, ‘I know I ask a lot but can you help me out.’”

In less than an hour, he had a call from Kathleen Gruby, art teacher at St. Gregory School, where Tiffany was a student. She said, “Mike, I heard you need some help.”

St. Gregory families cooked meals for Michael and the Dombrowskis’ three sons while Jennifer and Isabel, 16 months, stayed at the Ronald McDonald House in Milwaukee. Well-wishers sent gasoline gift cards to help the family pay for trips to and from Milwaukee.

The parish community also offered prayerful support. Prayer cards made by students and staff were placed in the church for parishioners to take home. The spiritual support was matched by their material assistance.

Volunteers donated time and money to help the family complete remodeling projects in their century-old home in anticipation of Tiffany’s return. The main project was a new bedroom for Tiffany.

Early on, the family believed Tiffany would be confined to a wheelchair, so they decided to move her upstairs bedroom to the main floor. A bathroom was also remodeled for the family. Days before Tiffany came home, a crew of parish women spent hours cleaning the house.

“What was amazing to me, was this community coming together for a common cause,” said Dombrowski. “They recognized a need, saw we had been struggling up here a couple years and took charge.”

On the day Tiffany came home, she got a surprise welcome from St. Gregory School. Steffen arranged an all-school field trip to the Dombrowski’s home on March 23. Seventy-five children, each clutching a helium balloon, cheered as their school mate arrived. They released the balloons, listened to Tiffany’s classmates recite a prayer, then all joined in praying the Hail Mary.

While continuing her therapy, Tiffany is being home schooled. Her parents hope she can rejoin her classmates at St. Gregory next year.

Tiffany made an appearance at church on May 6 for a prayer service organized by the parish. According to her father, the congregation was silent when Tiffany read a prayer they helped her write:

The prayer of thanksgiving was addressed to God.

“Thank you for saving my life. Thank you for the people who helped me get well. Thank you for everyone who sent me get-well cards. Thank you for all the people who helped fix and clean our house and my wonderful bedroom. Please bless all those who have been praying for me and my family. Amen”

“It’s been good for the (St. Gregory) kids to have her among them,” said school principal Rita Steffen. “We have an end of year picnic coming up and she’ll be part of that. We realize it’s going to be a long road ahead, but the progress she has made is absolutely amazing. It’s just fun to see her do everything she can at this point.”

“The great miracle is that our daughter is back,” said Dombrowski. “Our thankfulness first goes to the one who started her heart, which is God. But then the people that were part of saving Tiffany’s life. They all deserve a little bit of recognition.”

Donations for Tiffany Dombrowski’s medical expenses are still being accepted at

Bank First National, PO Box 119, St. Nazianz, WI, 54232-0119.


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