About Us

The Wendi Gordon Shelist NF Foundation, Inc., is a charitable not-for-profit corporation, established in 2005 to educate the public and hospital medical personnel about the disease necrotizing fasciitis and protection from infections. Wendi Gordon Shelist, the sister-in-law of Robert Shelist was diagnosed in 2004 with that debilitating disorder, which is more commonly known as the "flesh-eating disease." Wendi spent 42 days in the hospital and had numerous surgeries due to that horrific disease. Thankfully, Wendi beat the odds and survived, albeit with some physical limitations. The Foundation was established to give something back to the community and to turn a negative situation into a positive outcome.

The Foundation was started after Wendi contracted necrotizing fasciitis in the summer of 2004. The disorder, necrotizing fasciitis, otherwise known as "the flesh eating bacteria" moved very quickly through Wendi's body necessitating multiple surgeries and causing disfigurement to her right leg. If not diagnosed properly, this disease can kill within 24 hours. After 53 days in the hospital, Wendi was on the long road to recovery. Her family remains uplifted by her relenting spirit and positive attitude.

In 2005, the Foundation hosted a charity event and silent auction, that many of you attended, which raised in excess of $50,000 towards our cause.

Mission Statement

"It is our mission to do everything possible to prevent this horrific disease from ever being misdiagnosed and to help educate the public about avoidance of infection."

Founding Members

Founding Members

Robert J. Shelist

Robert Shelist

Robert has devoted his time, relationships and financing to support improved diagnosis and treatment options in pursuit of eradicating the chance that people will have to suffer from this devastating ubiquitous disease. Robert is an attorney in Chicago, Il and directs the funds received by the Wendi Gordon Shelist Foundation toward attaining the mission for the organization.

Wendi Gordon

Wendi Gordon

Wendi Gordon Shelist lives in Chicago with her husband, David, and two children Madison and Bryson. She is the co-owner of the retail stores Madison and Friends and The Denim Lounge. Wendi was diagnosed in 2004 with necrotizing fasciitis after numerous emergency room doctors mistook the infection for other conditions as it is not easily diagnosed and is routinely missed. After her near death experience, extended hospital stay and numerous surgeries on her right leg, Wendi now leads a normal and very productive life. She is grateful for the wonderful support of her family, friends and successful treatment from her doctors during her fight with NF.

David Shelist

David Shelist

David and his wife, Wendi, are the owners of Madison and Friends and The Denim Lounge Retail stores in Chicago, Illinois. David lives in Chicago with his wife, two children, Madison and Bryson, and their two dogs. After the incredible misfortune of having his wife, Wendi Gordon Shelist, fight through the effects of necrotizing fasciitis, David and Wendi want to give back and do their part to help other individuals affected by this terrible disease.

John Kirby, MD

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John Kirby, MD board certified general and critical care surgeon, wound care specialist and hyperbaricist. Dr. John Kirby is an attending faculty member of the Section of Acute and Critical Care Surgery and the Director of the Wound Healing Program at Washington University School of Medicine and Barnes-Jewish Hospital. Dr. Kirby played a critical role with the medical team that was instrumental in the success of Wendi Gordon's recovery from NF.