Author Archives: Tim Kehoe

Four reminders to prevent the flu

Flu season. It’s that time of year when we duck for cover in Minnesota. We all know someone who has battled the flu.

The flu is a serious respiratory illness, and the symptoms can be downright nasty – sudden onset of fever, cough, congestion, sore throat, achy muscles, fatigue, occasionally pneumonia, and, in extreme cases, death.

Each year, an average of 20,000 kids under 5 are hospitalized because of flu-related complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Influenza causes more hospitalizations among young children than any other vaccine-preventable illness.

“Don’t think of influenza as ‘just the flu.’  For infants and children especially, it can be a scary, very severe disease.  Prevent it,” said Patsy Stinchfield, nurse practitioner and director of infectious disease at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

Here are some easy reminders to keep your family and you healthy during flu season:

  1. Get vaccinated against the flu. All people 6 months of age and over need an annual flu vaccine.  While flu vaccines are not perfect (100 percent effective), not getting one provides zero protection.
  2. Wash your hands with soap and water. At Children’s, we wash ‘em proud. You should wash your hands before and after eating, after using the restroom, after blowing your nose and sneezing.
  3. Cover your cough and sneeze. If you’re visiting Children’s, we ask that you wear a mask if you have a cough. We ask staff and visitors to stay home if they are ill and if they have a cough to wear a mask to prevent the spread of such things as influenza and other infections to our vulnerable patients.
  4. Sick? Please, stay home from work or school. If your child is sick, keep him/her home from school and daycare, too.
Visit our flu prevention website for more information.

Kohl’s Cares and Children’s Flu Prevention Tips from Children's of Minnesota on Vimeo.

Choosing a midwife, from her point of view

Forty years ago in her home country of Iran, Nahid Shokohi Razmpour became a midwife. She’s been delivering babies ever since.

Shokohi Razmpour, part of HealthPartners Medical Group and delivers at Abbott Northwestern Hospital and will work at The Mother Baby Center when it opens in February, loves being a midwife.

“I have a special passion to be with the woman during labor,” she said. “I love to help the woman.”

Last week was National Midwifery Week – the celebration of a profession that’s dear to her.

Nahid Shokohi Razmpour

Of the 4,000 babies born at Abbott Northwestern each year, 600 to 700 are delivered by a midwife, according to Shokohi Razmpour. And the number of women choosing a midwife is growing in Minnesota. Between 1989 and 2008, deliveries that involved a midwife increased from 3.2 percent to 7.5 percent, she said.

“Women feel more comfortable with a female provider,” she said.

Shokohi Razmpour took time recently to chat about what factors to consider when evaluating what kind of practitioner to see for prenatal care and childbirth.

So what should you consider when evaluating whether to choose an obstetrician-gynecologist (OB-GYN) versus a midwife?

From Shokohi Razmpour’s point of view:

  • Whenever possible, a midwife involves the partner on day one.
  • A midwife spends more time with the mother during labor.
  • Because a midwife spends significant time with the mother during labor, relatively few patients require intervention. The midwife encourages medication-free deliveries.
  • A midwife suggests showers, bathing, massage, homeopathy, changing positions and using a birthing ball instead of intervention like medication. However, if pain medication is needed during labor, she supports this choice, as well. She recognizes each person’s birthing experience individually.
  • A midwife counsels the mother during the pregnancy about diet, exercise and emotional support.
  • A midwife also prepares the parents for the arrival – from what to buy to what to bring to the hospital.

“I give (expectant moms) what they want – part of that is service, part of that is love,” she said.

She wants the birth experience to be what the expectant mom wants it to be – an easy and positive experience in her life.

When things don’t go as planned, Shokohi Razmpour doesn’t leave the expecting mother’s side. In the case of a Caesarean section, “I scrub in right away…I stay with my patient as a supporter.”

Post delivery, she doesn’t leave the mother’s side. She encourages breastfeeding and stays with the mother after the birth to assist.

“We take great pride in making the experience more personal,” she said.

Learn more about The Mother Baby Center by visiting its Facebook page.

31-day photo challenge: What makes kids and Children’s great?

Editor’s note: We’ll announce the winner of the glow sticks every day of the challenge here on the blog. We’ll also reach out directly to the winner. Thanks for participating! *For those days in which there was no winner, we did not receive entries from new participants.

To view the photos that have been shared on Instagram, click here.

Nobody knows kids better than we do, and nobody treats kids better than we do, either. But we can’t do it without your help. That’s why we’ll participate again in Give to the Max Day on Nov. 15. On this day, thousands of Minnesota nonprofits come together to raise money for their important missions.

Starting on Oct. 15, we want to celebrate what makes Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota and kids GREAT in the 31 days leading up to Give to the Max Day. You can help. We challenge you to take a photo a day that captures some of that greatness. It’s really pretty simple.

  1. Follow the word list below in order and snap a picture that matches the theme of the day.
  2. That day, upload the photo into Instagram or share it on Twitter or both. Just make sure you include the hashtag #ChildrensMN and the theme of the day.
  3. We know your pictures will be awesome! Each day, we’ll pick one participant to receive a pack of Children’s glow sticks. Pretty rad, right?
  4. We’ll also highlight some of your snaps every Friday on Facebook during the challenge.

Need inspiration? Then you should meet Alannah. She’s a 7-year-old Children’s patient who was diagnosed in August with Stage IV neuroblastoma. Alannah is sweet, courageous and generous. For so many reasons, we think she’s pretty great!

What do YOU think makes kids great? Show us over the next 31 days!

Photo themes:

Oct. 15 Star

Winner: @jenboss

Oct. 16 Happy

Winner: @ElinMarieH

Oct. 17 Playful

Winner: @1girl2boys

Oct. 18 Excitement

Winner: @puddingpop77

Oct. 19 Determination

Winner: @ashlybacon

Oct. 20 Red wagon

Oct. 21 Wonder

Winner: @jaboss

Oct. 22 Heart

Oct. 23 Fearlessness

Oct. 24 Fighter

Winner: @Jorn_K

Oct. 25 Imagination

Winner: @southsidecreepn

Oct. 26 Energy

Oct. 27 Hope

Oct. 28 Smile

Winner: Jenny Traun-Severson

Oct. 29 Perspective

Oct. 30 Sweet

Oct. 31 Trick

Winner: @steveasp7117

Nov. 1 Soul

Nov. 2 Toys

Winner: Joe Roelofs

Nov. 3 Pet therapy

Winner: @creller19

Nov. 4 Freedom

Winner: @jennifermackey6

Nov. 5 Courage

Winner: @BeckyBoudreau

Nov. 6 Love

Winner: @GinaJay1

Nov. 7 Curiosity

Winner: @ingridarnold

Nov. 8 Humor

Winner: @carsolina99

Nov. 9 Chapstick flavors

Nov. 10 Strong

Nov. 11 Balloon

Winner: Tanya Juarez-Sweeney

Nov. 12 Passion

Nov. 13 Inspiration

Nov. 14 Generosity

Winner: @danjmiller

Alannah: A girl with heart

Alannah Gillis Photo: Shari Fleming

God doesn’t give me more than I can handle.

That’s what 7-year-old Alannah Gillis said when she found out she had Stage IV neuroblastoma. And that’s what she had printed on custom rubber wristbands. Wristbands that she went on to sell in an effort to raise money for the Star Studio at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. That act of kindness would prove to be the first of many for this amazing and generous young girl.

“I like to be nice,” Alannah said.

Through treatment, which has subsequently stripped Alannah’s head bald, prevented her from riding a bike because of low blood counts and kept her from enjoying first grade while she spends extended periods hospitalized, Alannah is thinking of others first.

“She is just beyond thoughtful. The word ‘thoughtful’ doesn’t even cover it,” said her mom, Angela Peterson.

A mother’s persistence

Alannah’s diagnosis didn’t come easily, or quickly.

At the end of the school year, she came home one day complaining about leg pain, Peterson said. Her eyes were ashen underneath. Instead of playing outdoors on the trampoline or riding her bike, she was inside using the family’s gaming system.

“It was like she never slept. She was always tired,” Peterson said. “This was not my child.”

Alannah dared The Dude from the Star Studio to bungee jump at the Minnesota State Fair. He accepted the challenge.

So began Peterson’s quest for answers. Alannah saw three different providers who had different diagnoses. None were cancer.

The first treated Alannah for a bladder infection. The second said she had anemia and recommended supplements and to return in six weeks to be re-tested.

Peterson wasn’t convinced. She took Alannah to a third provider and asked her – mom to mom – to figure out what was wrong. A series of blood tests indicated Alannah’s blood counts “were out of whack,” Peterson said.

They were told to go to Children’s – more than two hours away from their Wisconsin home – stat. After a series of tests, Peterson got the answer she needed but no mother wants for her daughter. She had cancer.

“Knowing is so much better than having questions,” Peterson said.

Alannah has retained her sense of humor through it all.

While Vicki Schaefers, Alannah’s nurse practitioner, talked with Peterson about the need for a blood transfusion, Alannah quipped, “You do know I am highly allergic to platelets!”

She has “intelligence that belies her age,” Schaefers said.

Acts of kindness

In the weeks since learning she has cancer, a community where many hadn’t heard the word neuroblastoma has rallied around Alannah, Peterson said.

On Sept. 22 – the day after Alannah’s seventh birthday – three casinos in her county raised approximately $98,000 to help pay for medical bills, a car for Peterson because she doesn’t have one, and a trip for Alannah’s family, Peterson said.

Approximately $20,000 will go to a county program for holiday gifts for children, Peterson said. Alannah insisted.

Alannah Gillis Photo: Shari Fleming

“Since her diagnosis, she has received more things than she could have imagined, but it has not changed her attitude toward others. She thinks of them first and foremost,” Schaefers said. “She is all about giving back, and this is only the beginning. She is an inspiration to all of us, and we will talk about her for years to come!”

A few days after the benefit, good news was in store for Alannah.

She returned to Children’s for a bone marrow biopsy and more chemo. During her stay, she got her biopsy results. Fifteen percent of Alannah’s cells were cancerous, down from 100 percent when she was diagnosed, Peterson said.

“The best news yet,” Peterson said.

Hours within getting the news, Alannah sat in her hospital bed awaiting more medicine. Her face was painted in shades of pink, purple, green and gold to resemble her favorite animal – a cat.

The warm, lovable, funny little girl got serious for a moment.

“I wish I knew why this happened,” she said.

No one knows, Peterson answered.

“It’s one thing when it’s happening to an adult who’s lived a long life; it’s another when it’s happening to a child who’s just beginning their life,” Peterson said.

That’s why they’ve agreed to participate in research that might help other kids and create better outcomes, Peterson said.

It’s yet another act of kindness.

“She has the biggest heart of any kid and adult I know,” Peterson said.

Bullying, your child and you

This is a post by Amy Moeller. Amy is a therapist who has worked with children and adolescents for 25 years. She works in the Adolescent Health Department at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota and treats teenagers experiencing depression, anxiety, social struggles and chemical dependency. In addition, Amy co-founded The Family Enhancement Center in south Minneapolis 17 years ago. She works at the center part time with children and families who have been affected by physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect. Amy is married and the mother of three children. 

“Being bullied is not just an unpleasant right of passage through childhood,” said Duane Alexander, M.D., former director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. “It’s a public health problem that merits attention. People who were bullied as children are more likely to suffer from depression and low self esteem, well into adulthood, and bullies themselves are more likely to engage in criminal behavior later in life.”

I recently attended the production of Mean, an original drama performed by the Youth Performance Company on bullying. The production was timely – it’s National Anti-Bullying Awareness Month. The performance gives us a view into the lives of students being bullied and introduces us to several forms of bullying including bullying at school and cyber bullying.

Cyber bullying can take on many forms. Sending mean messages or threats via text message. Spreading rumors online or through text messages. Posting hurtful or threatening messages on social media sites like Twitter or Facebook. Pretending to be someone else online to hurt another person. Taking unflattering pictures and sending them through cell phones or online. “Sexting” or circulating sexually suggestive messages about a person.

Who’s affected?

In Minnesota, we’ve had several instances of cyber bullying reported in the media. This behavior touches all schools and students from all backgrounds.

According to the I-SAFE Foundation:

  • More than half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyber bullying.
  • More than 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyber threats online.
  • Over 25 percent of teens have been bullied repeatedly over through text messages or the Internet.
  • Well over half of those who’ve experienced bullying don’t tell their parents.
  • Bullying generally begins in elementary school, peaks in fifth through eighth grades and persists into high school, with very little variation between urban, suburban and rural areas.

The Cyberbullying Research Center reports that over 80 percent of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most popular form of technology and a common medium for cyber bullying.

About half of young people have experienced some form of cyber bullying and 10 to 20 percent experience it regularly. Girls are at least as likely to be cyber bullies or their victims. Boys are more likely to be threatened by cyber bullies than girls. Cyber bullying affects all races, and the victims are more likely to have low self-esteem or to consider suicide.

What is bullycide?

Tragically, the set of MEAN is peppered with names and pictures of youth who have committed suicide after being bullied. What an incredibly unsettling idea that we have a name for this. The definition of bullycide is suicide caused from the results of being bullied.

Children and teens who are bullied live in a constant state of fear and confusion. Many feel the only way to escape rumors, insults, verbal abuse and terror is to take their own lives.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people resulting in 4,400 deaths every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Bullying victims are between two and nine times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims. A staggering 160,000 kids stay home from school every day for fear of being bullied.

New bullying statistics in 2010 indicate there is a strong connection between bullying, being bullied and suicide, according to a new study from Yale School of Medicine. Suicide rates continue to increase among adolescents, and have grown more then 50 percent in the past 30 years.

What to do if you suspect your child is being bullied?

  • Get your child’s input. You need to be a confidant your child can turn to for help in dealing with bullying. Help your child see it’s not their fault.
  • Talk to school authorities. Often, bullying takes place in unsupervised areas such as bathrooms, the playground, or school buses. Make school personnel aware.
  • Teach your child to avoid the bully. Your child doesn’t need to fight back. Walk away and go find a teacher or other trusted adult.
  • Encourage your child to be assertive. Your child doesn’t need to fight back, but they can stand up straight and tell the bully to leave them alone.
  • Practice with your child. It’s beneficial to role play and practice what they are going to say to a bully.
  • Teach your child to move in groups. A good support system can be an effective deterrent against bullies. Have your child go to school and other places with trusted and true friends who can support them against bullies.

There are many activities on bullying this month in the Twin Cities. I recommend taking your child to MEAN and, while there, learn about the many resources in the Twin Cities aimed at keeping our children safe from the insidious evil that bullying is.

The YPC will perform Mean through Oct. 14 at the Howard Conn Fine Arts Center in Minneapolis. For more information, visit the website

A mom’s story: The power of walking

This is a guest blog post by Liz Keating. She’s a Family Advisory Council member at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota and a mom of three.

I had to be largely off my feet while pregnant with my first two kids. That was tough. Although I’ve never considered myself an athlete, my body and my brain had grown accustomed to an active lifestyle. Being forced to slow down was a bummer. So it was a real blessing when I was able (and encouraged) to stay active to a much greater degree while expecting our third child. Every pregnancy truly is different.

Staying active while pregnant wasn’t fancy. Our garage has accumulated quite an array of sports equipment over the years—bikes, scooters, in-line skates, ice skates, running shoes, cross county skis, snowshoes, even a four-person toboggan that doubles as a make-shift snowboard—all of which gathered dust during my pregnancy.

I had no regimented workout routine, gym membership, orspecialized equipment. Rather, the core of my daily activity was walking my eldest to and from school – about two miles in all. I added distance on some days and got outside with my family on weekends once the fatigue of the first trimester diminished. But how far I walked was never the point. The most important thing was to get outside and do SOMETHING.

I benefited a lot from staying active. I was able to face the physical and mental rigors of pregnancy with greater strength and stamina. My lower back hurt less. I slept better. Fresh air lessened my nausea somewhat. I recovered faster from delivery. Through walking, I learned to listen to my body.  I never “glowed,” but I coped better. But the greatest benefit, and the most unexpected, was the amazing connection I made with neighbors and others in my community.

Each day while walking my regular route I was greeted with smiles and waves from people passing by in cars, riding their bikes, or walking their dogs. The smiles and waves kept me going and seemed to increase as my due date approached. And now, when I am out walking the girls to school, I am stopped regularly by those same people who smiled and waved wanting to meet the baby they’d been rooting for. Having a new baby can be somewhat isolating, and making those unexpected connections helped take the edge off.

Read more about health for expecting moms. You can also visit The Mother Baby Center’s Facebook page.

 

Childhood cancer Twitter chat with Children’s

Join Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota for a Twitter chat on childhood cancer on Monday, Oct. 1, at 3 p.m. CST.

We’ll talk about:

  • Childhood cancers: How does cancer impact kids differently? What is the latest in research?
  • Children’s has a unique care philosophy for treating its pediatric cancer patients. What is it and how does it impact the patient and family experience?
  • What is Children’s doing to advance cancer research?

There are a few ways you can participate:

  • On Twitter, follow the hashtag #childrenschat
  • You can also follow the chat via the live stream below, which will activate at 3 p.m. Monday.

You can submit questions in advance by:

  • Using  the hashtag #childrenschat on Twitter
  • Email your questions/comments to brady.gervais@childrensmn.org
  • Entering your questions/comments in the box below when the chat starts at 3 p.m. Monday

Chat leaders include:

Dr. Kris Ann Schultz

Dr. Joanna Perkins

Noelle’s story: The danger of one bite

Noelle Dilley

Noelle Dilley knew the moment she bit into what looked like a chocolate cupcake it was contaminated. Tears streamed down her face as she ran to her mom.

The cupcake had peanut butter in it. Noelle, 10, is severely allergic to peanuts.

She and her family were at a church picnic. The cupcake looked tempting. It would be for most 10-year-old kids. Who would have thought it contained the one ingredient Noelle can’t have.

Noelle was tested and diagnosed with a peanut allergy – among other allergies – when she was around 3 years old after suffering a reaction to a small amount of peanut butter, said her mom, Renae Zaeska. The Atwater, Minn., family was told that with every peanut exposure, the reaction would be worse than the previous one for Noelle.

When Noelle was 5, one bite of a Butterfinger turned into a helicopter ride and a five-day stay at St. Cloud Hospital.

This reaction would be worse, Zaeska thought.

Noelle’s mouth started to burn. He ears ached. Her stomach hurt. On this day – of all days – Zaeska didn’t have Noelle’s EpiPen.

She grabbed Noelle and sped to the emergency room at Meeker Memorial Hospital in Litchfield, Minn. By the time they got there, Noelle’s eyes had started to swell and she began to wheeze. The medical team used an EpiPen and steroids. But Noelle needed additional care.

For the second time in her life, she traveled in a helicopter. She was taken to Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota where she spent 31 harrowing days.

At Children’s, Noelle went into cardiac arrest and CPR was performed. Her heart started pumping again, but her lungs were so inflamed and full of mucous she was unable to use them. She was ultimately put on ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation), a technique that provides cardiac and lung support to patients whose heart and lungs are severely distressed.

She underwent surgery, endured numerous procedures including bronchoscopy and was tested time and time again as she recovered.

“After this whole accident, I’m terrified…I pray to God that we never have to go through this again,” Zaeska said. “I wish I could put a bubble around her.”

“For four minutes, she was gone,” she said.

Now, Noelle and her family – who were able to stay at the Ronald McDonald House inside Children’s during the hospitalization– are home, where they belong.

“In the PICU at Children’s, we all have been privileged to care for Noelle and adore her family.  To see her so desperately ill, knowing that her heart and lungs stopped working, to help rescue her from her critical illness, then to see her walk out of this hospital is indescribable. This is exactly why we embrace caring for children,” said Dr. Ken Maslonka, PICU medical director.

The fifth-grader has been home since Sept. 19. She’s working with a tutor at home and continuing physical, occupational and speech therapy before returning to school for half-days.

Noelle’s school has taken various precautions to help protect her and students with food allergies, Zaeska said.

School staff has eliminated peanuts and peanut products in the food served to children, Zaeska said. They’ve created a peanut-free zone for Noelle at lunch. They’ve also added a wash basin where kids can wash their hands before entering the classroom.

The school can’t limit what parents send with their kids, however, Zaeska said.

Noelle’s parents read labels, know which companies use peanuts in food process, and check out which restaurants are “safe” and take steps to prevent cross-contamination.

Their days of dining outside the home will be fewer since Noelle’s hospitalization.

“We’ve told Noelle that we won’t eat out like we used to,” Zaeska said.

According to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), nearly 6 million or 8 percent of children have food allergies. Peanuts are a top food allergen.

“The best advice for families with severe food allergies is: know to the best of your ability what your child is allergic to, always be prepared for an acute allergic reaction every moment of every day, do your best to keep your child in a safe environment away from the offending allergens at home, school, restaurants,” Maslonka said.

You can read more about Noelle on CaringBridge.

 

Preparing kids (for things that weren’t their idea!)

This is a post by Jeri Kayser, who’s been a Child Life Specialist at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota since 1985. Her educational background is in child development and psychology. She has three children who have been a great source of anecdotes to help illustrate developmental perspective. They’re wonderful at being good sports about it.

Something needs to happen; something that was not your child’s choice, and it’s going to require some cooperation on their part. Maybe it’s a trip to the dentist, a haircut, a move to a new school or dinner with some overbearing relative at a restaurant with cloth napkins. Like all successful endeavors, a little planning can go a long way.

Working with children about to have surgery gives me a pretty unique vantage point as to what helps when preparing a child for something new and challenging. The following are some thoughts to consider when faced with this daunting task.

Self–exploration

How do you feel about what’s coming up? What have been your experiences doing this event and what have you found helped or did not help? Personal confession: Going to the dentist is not on my top million list of things to do. I know this about myself so when it came time for my kids’ first visits to the dentist, I was honest about my feelings. I knew that anything I said about the upcoming visit to the dentist was going to contain some of my bias. While explaining what would be the sequence of events, I included where I felt challenged and what I did to make it better. Your emotional context of the event is going to be different from your child’s because you are unique individuals with unique perspectives.

Respect your knowledge of your child

How does your child best take in information? Do they need time to process or does time make them more anxious as they imagine every worse case scenario? Do they learn better hands-on or are they a better visual learner and like to read about a new event before they participate? Every child, at each stage of their development, is going to have their own way of approaching new information.

Find out what your child already knows

Often, when a parent has just confessed to me that they haven’t told their child anything about surgery, the child will be able to go into immense detail about what is going to happen. They know. They listen. They pay attention. The information is just so much more meaningful when there has been a direct conversation with opportunities to ask questions. When you ask your child what they already know, their response can give you helpful guidance in how they understand the event and what, if any, misconceptions they might have.

What to expect and what is expected of them

Not knowing what is going to happen is usually the source of anxiety, not what is actually happening. We as adults can think through all of the possibilities of what to expect and have more life experiences from which to draw. Kids tend to get more anxious about stepping into the great unknown and fear that loss of control. Explaining what will be happening in a step-by-step approach is comforting in its sense of predictability. Be sure about your facts. Shorter descriptions tend to be more accurate and easier to listen to. End the timeline of the event with something you will be doing when you are done and back home. This helps reinforce that the event won’t last forever and normalcy will return. Kids also need to know what is expected of them, when will they be required to be cooperative and what the repercussions for misbehavior are.

Questions from the audience

Make sure you leave time for questions right after you’ve finished explaining what will happen or later when your child may have additional thoughts on the topic. If you ask a person if they have any questions, the typical response is no.  A more helpful way to get to their thoughts could be to say, “Think of three questions you might have about (fill in the blank).” If you can’t answer a question, have your child write it down and make a list of questions to bring to whomever is most likely to have the answers.

Was it like what you thought it would be like?

This is a good question to sum up the experience. This is also a good question to encourage conversation about what went well and what they would want to change to make it even better the next time. If things didn’t go well, there is actually much to be learned by that. Success is a good ego booster, but failure is a better teacher. As you process what happened, you are also teaching your child how to face a new challenge, which is an invaluable gift for the rest of their life. Well-prepared kids tend to face any challenge with more skill, confidence and success.

Bonus round

It is very gratifying to watch your kids handle something you weren’t sure they could, and their self-discovery of just how strong they can be is priceless.

#childrenschat: The work continues after Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Childhood cancer affects nearly one in 10,000 kids each year, and nearly 13,000 children under the age of 21 are diagnosed each year in the United States. While cancer is still the leading cause of death in children between infants and age 15, survival rates have increased significantly over the past few decades – up from 58 percent in the 1970s to nearly 80 percent in recent years.

While we’re glad there’s a month dedicated to raising awareness around childhood cancer, our work at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota doesn’t stop on Sept. 30. We continue working toward early detection, creating the best outcomes for our patients and advancing research.

On Monday, Oct. 1, we invite you to join Dr. Kris Ann Schultz and Dr. Joanna Perkins from our Cancer and Blood Disorders Clinic during #childrenschat to discuss what we’re doing to advance childhood cancer research.

Follow the hashtag #childrenschat on Twitter from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. CST on Twitter. If you’re unable to participate or follow the chat, we’ll share a transcript of the chat on Tuesday, Oct. 2, right here on the Kids’ Health Blog. We can still take your questions, too. You can submit questions in advance by Tweeting them to @ChildrensMN with the #childrenschat hashtag or sending them to brady.gervais@childrensMN.org.

#childrenschat leaders:

Dr. Kris Ann Schultz

 

 

 

 

Dr. Joanna Perkins

 

 

 

 

Topics:

• Childhood cancers: How does cancer impact kids differently? What is the latest in research?
• Children’s has a unique care philosophy for treating its pediatric cancer patients. What is it and how does it impact the patient and family experience?
• What is Children’s doing to advance cancer research?

We hope you will join us on Oct. 1. Read more about Childhood Cancer Awareness Month here.