Sheboygan family offers love, care, a home for terminally ill children

SHEBOYGAN -- Two parents from Sheboygan say compassion brings children into their foster home, but it's their faith that allows them to care for these children who may not have much time left here on Earth.


Since Cori and Mark Salchert brought Charlie home in October 2015, they've gotten the post-travel routine down. But it's difficult to say that anything is routine when you offer your home to children who are terminally ill.

Charlie cannot breathe or swallow in his own. He suffered brain damage before and during birth, and he requires 24-hour care.


"This is a suction machine. It helps keep his saliva down," Mark Salchert said.

"With Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy,  generally children don't live past the age of two," Cori Salchert said.

Cori Salchert, a registered nurse, and her husband began fostering terminally ill babies more than three years ago.

Before Charlie, two young children shared their final moments in the Salchert's home. Five other children have been cared for and reunited with their families.

Mark and Cori Salchert and Charlie

"Charlie has people who love him and care about him and he definitely has quality of life," Cori Salchert said.

"Anyone can do this if they have a heart for it," Mark Salchert said.

Cori and Mark Salchert raised eight children of their own.

Mark and Cori Salchert and Charlie

"It has kind of evolved into this -- where we are taking in children with special needs," Mark Salchert said.

The Salcherts understand that at 21 months old, Charlie may not have much time left.

"The sunshine that comes through the window, he very much enjoys," Cori Salchert said.

Cori Salchert and Charlie

The Salcherts' mission isn't to save Charlie's life, but rather, to provide a dying child with unconditional love, which is why a job that may seem daunting at first is actually incredibly fulfilling, the Salcherts say.

While Cori Salchert does have many years of healthcare experience as a nurse. She credits the Ronald McDonald House in Milwaukee for training her to make a difference in the lives of very young parents.

Cori Salchert and Charlie