Morgan Oldenburg: Carrying on a Legacy, Her Own Way
— by ABCD board member, Gina Rich
May 8, 2018
Morgan Oldenburg isn’t one to seek the spotlight. But as the eldest daughter of the late Melodie Wilson Oldenburg, Morgan recognizes her role in carrying on an important legacy in the Milwaukee community. Her mother, an Emmy award-winning journalist, local anchorwoman, and television reporter, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992; seven years later, she founded ABCD: After Breast Cancer Diagnosis.
Melodie’s openness about her disease was remarkable, motivating others who had been diagnosed to reach out to her for support. “Back then, it was a big deal for someone to go public with a diagnosis the way my mom did,” Morgan recalls. After sharing news of her own diagnosis, Melodie found herself fielding calls at her newsdesk from other women facing the illness. Over the years, these conversations inspired her to establish ABCD, ensuring that more breast cancer survivors and co-survivors would have access to free, customized peer support.
Since her mother’s passing in 2009, Morgan has become a passionate advocate for ABCD. She has volunteered at numerous events, including the Komen Race for the Cure, helping to raise awareness of ABCD’s mission. She completed training to become an ABCD Family & Friends Mentor, and briefly worked for the organization. Today, Morgan remains a champion for ABCD in the community, offering her time and talent to numerous projects including the organization’s annual celebration, Date With a Plate.
Finding Her Own Path
While Melodie discovered her spark in front of the camera, Morgan found a different outlet for her talents: she co-founded LIFT Field Hockey, a Milwaukee non-profit organization that fosters leadership, sportsmanship, fitness, and confidence in young girls ages four to eighteen through the development of teamwork and field hockey skills.
In her current role as a co-owner, director, and coach, Morgan dedicates herself to creating a supportive community that empowers young women to recognize their own potential. With enthusiasm and energy reminiscent of her mother’s, Morgan notes, “We’re not just focused on teaching the sport – we also want girls to learn to support each other in a healthy way. We strive to be inclusive and to have fun!”
A Vision for ABCD’s Future
In between field hockey practices and games, Morgan continues to play an active role in ABCD’s evolution. As the organization grows and changes, Morgan feels it’s important for ABCD to stay connected to its roots. To this end, her current focus is revitalizing relationships with ABCD’s longtime supporters and celebrating its dedicated Mentors.
In 2016, Morgan organized a special mentor appreciation event, and she hopes to make this gathering an annual occasion. “Our Mentors are our biggest advocates,” she says. “Without them, we’d be nowhere.”
As ABCD’s earliest Mentor, Melodie set forth a powerful vision. There’s no doubt that she would be proud of the many volunteers and supporters – including her daughter – who continue to make this vision a reality each and every day.
Pictured above: Melodie and Morgan at Shrek the Musical in NYC