Sharing Mayo Clinic

Stories from patients, family, friends and Mayo Clinic staff

September 9, 2010

Revisiting The Hippy Sisters: A Story of Hope, Healing and Having Fun

By Catherine Benson

The Hippy Sisters held their 5th Annual HipCheck & ChickFest at the end of August, 2010. They all received good news from their beloved Dr. Berry and spent the rest of the time celebrating their friendship and pain-free lives.  They made sure they went out dancing, because now they can!

The Hippy Sisters in front of Rochester Methodist Hospital

The Hippy Sisters in front of Rochester Methodist Hospital, which they affectionately refer to as their second birthplace

Some patient support groups are developed formally, with a mission statement, mailing list, annual goals and hundreds of members. Others develop more organically. Five Mayo patients, who call themselves the Hippy Sisters, started their small support group without even realizing it.

Dr. Daniel Berry with his patients, the Hippy Sisters

Dr. Daniel Berry with his patients, the Hippy Sisters

Kay Anderson, Beth Denton, Barbara Nunke, Rachel Petersen and Cathy Weber met through online chats on the Totally Hip Support Group website.

They were drawn to each other's posts because they were all quite a bit younger than the average recipient of a hip replacement. They weren't all Mayo Clinic patients to begin with, but after talking with each other and other patients online and conferring with their own doctors, they all became patients of orthopedic surgeon Daniel J. Berry, M.D., at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

Dancing on new hips!

Dancing on new hips!

The women have supported each other through surgery and recovery and cheer each other on every day via the Web and e-mail. They also hold an annual reunion by arranging to have their appointments with Dr. Berry at the same time. At their last reunion in November 2008, they went dancing for hours to celebrate their fabulous hips - something they could not have done prior to their surgeries.

Five women from four different states bonded in ways they could never have imagined because of their shared medical issues and because of the care they received at Mayo Clinic. If you would like to connect with the Hippy Sisters to talk about hip replacement, please leave a comment here.  They would be happy to respond.


Where do you find support? Send in your comments below to let us know if you have formed a Mayo patient or caregiver support group. Or if you are part of a more formal support network. What has connecting with other patients or caregivers meant to you?

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Tags: 3832, 5299, 5335, Hip replacement, Hippy Sisters, Orthopedics, Patient Support Groups

Thank you for this encouraging article which gives me great hope! I have been to Mayo on several occasions with my daughter, Jennifer. I am now facing a total replacement of my R hip & am very discouraged in finding a Dr. here in SC that I can trust with my surgery. I want to have the anterior incision & have many ?’s about how you all managed your rehab being that you,too, were from out of state.


I believe Mayo Clinic has one surgeon that does the anterior approach. I would agree that the lateral approach has a higher incidence of dislocation and a post-operative limp. When I need to do this surgery again, it will be the anterior approach. Since you live on the east coast, the Hospital For Special Surgery (#1 in the country for orthopedics) has a lot more information on the anterior method of hip replacement. For some of the orthopedic surgeons at Mayo, they prefer the patient do their own exercises at home than physical therapy (even for complex cases).


Thank you Bonnie for your reply, which I have been very lax in answering. After MANY hours of research on this, And by the Grace of God, I was led to a surgeon in Savannah, GA. Dr. Charles Hope. And just an hour or so ago, I was given my date for surgery……..the 20th of this month.

He is well experienced and I am thrilled at this point that I will be new @ C’Mas!

BLessings to you and keep in touch. I have no idea where you live……but I will be here for you if you have any ?’s following my surgery.

Lois KLein, ISle of Palms, SC


Hello Lois, I am very happy to hear that you found the right doctor and facility and Savannah is such a beautiful place. The anterior approach has a much shorter recovery time and lower incidence of dislocation. I was recently at a family wedding in New York City and my cousin three weeks earlier had a hip replacement using the anterior approach and he was dancing. I live in the twin cities and had my knee and hip replacements done at Mayo Clinic. At three weeks with the lateral surgery, I could not even lift up my leg. It was a long recovery process that took over two years. When you have time, please let me know how you are doing and your experience with the surgery and the recovery phase. I should also note that my cousin had physical therapy and he said it made the world of difference in his case. Enjoy all the beautiful Savannah parks and southern hospitality.

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