Category Archives: Philanthropy

Making of “Meet Abbey, future ballerina”

We get to work with amazing kids like Abbey every day at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. And each one has a dream that’s worth reaching.

The concept of the “Give today. Support tomorrows.” fundraising campaign is built on the spirit that every child has the chance to realize his or her hopes and dreams.

Take a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the commercial featuring Abbey, the future ballerina, and her family.

You can help our kids get to “when I grow up.” Give today. Support tomorrows.

Making of “Meet Abbey, future ballerina” from Children’s of Minnesota on Vimeo.

30-second commercial:

Meet Abbey, future ballerina from Children’s of Minnesota on Vimeo.

Meet John

When John grows up, he wants to be a hockey player.

When John grows up, he wants to be a hockey player.

When exploring the impact of supporting a child’s tomorrow, we went straight to the source: our patients. We asked several to share how Children’s has played a role in their life today, and what they look forward to in their tomorrow. This is what we learned.

Q4_mighty_buttonName: John

Age: 8

Hometown: Hastings

John was referred to Children’s, where he and his family learned he had stage IV advanced neuroblastoma. He has undergone chemotherapy, surgeries, radiation, a stem cell transplant, antibody therapy and now is participating in the difluoromethylornithine (DFMO) trial.

When John grows up, he wants to be a hockey player. Maybe even for the Minnesota Wild! Go, Wild!

No child loves being in the hospital, but when John is at Children’s, he loves watching The Dude on Channel 13.

Meet Sam

Sam came to Children’s because of hypoplastic left heart (HLH) syndrome and has undergone four open-heart surgeries to help reroute it.

Sam came to Children’s because of hypoplastic left heart (HLH) syndrome and has undergone four open-heart surgeries to help reroute it.

When exploring the impact of supporting a child’s tomorrow, we went straight to the source: our patients. We asked several to share how Children’s has played a role in their life today, and what they look forward to in their tomorrow. This is what we learned.

Q4_mighty_buttonName: Sam

Age: 3

Hometown: Litchfield

Sam came to Children’s because of hypoplastic left heart (HLH) syndrome and has undergone four open-heart surgeries to help reroute it.

When Sam grows up, he wants to build parks because he loves playing in parks.

When at Children’s, Sam loves “all of the train toys they let me play with.”

Sam, 3

Sam, 3

Father of cystic fibrosis patient plans concert, silent auction for Children’s

Edison Hopper was born with cystic fibrosis. (Amy Best / Amy Colleen Photography)

Edison Hopper was born with cystic fibrosis. (Amy Best / Amy Colleen Photography)

If you asked Charlie Hopper if the birth of his son was hard, you’d be off. Way off.

“To say it was difficult would be inaccurate,” Hopper said. “Any time you’re confronted with something your child has that could shorten his life shifts your perspective. We’ve done our best to take his diagnosis in stride, and the help of the team at Children’s has made that possible.”

A week after Edison Hopper was born last year, he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF). He has been treated at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota ever since. It was a diagnosis that will forever impact the Hopper family. Parents Charlie and Becky have not only accepted it but also pledged to help other kids like Edison and all kids cared for by Children’s.

CF is a life-threatening genetic disease that primarily affects the lungs and digestive system. A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus. It clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections, as well as obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down food and absorb vital nutrients.

After Becky became pregnant with Edison, she learned she was a CF carrier. As a result, Charlie was tested and also found to be a carrier. When both parents are carriers, children have a 1-in-4 chance of having CF. It wasn’t until after Edison was born that they learned his diagnosis.

“Emotionally, it was difficult after Edison was born, but we got to a point where everything leveled out, and it got easier and easier. We don’t know any different,” Hopper said.

Edison receives daily treatment. He takes 40,000 units of enzymes with every meal to help him maintain body weight, Hopper said. He uses a nebulizer twice a day and wears a vest during treatment to help loosen the mucus in his lungs.

He visits Children’s, specifically Dr. Brooke Moore at Children’s Respiratory and Critical Care Specialists (CRCCS) every three months for checkups. He does an annual visit with his whole CF team (doctor, nurse, dietitian, social worker, and respiratory therapist). To date, he has been healthy and hasn’t once been hospitalized.

Since Edison was born, there have been many promising developments for people with his diagnosis. Life expectancy on average for a person with cystic fibrosis is just over 37 years. Kids born today with it should live into their 50s, on average, Hopper has learned.

Q4_mighty_button“Part of why CF has advanced is because of places like Children’s,” he said.

Charlie and Becky are expecting their second child next year. Because they’re both carriers of the defective gene, their next child could have cystic fibrosis, too.

“We obviously don’t want our next child to have CF,” Hopper said. “But in the event our unborn son has CF, we’ll know how to manage it.”

Hopper wants to raise $15,000 yet this year for Children’s in honor of his son and the thousands of other kids for whom Children’s cares.

“Everything that Children’s represents is something bigger than us as individuals,” Hopper said. “They go above and beyond.”

To help raise funds for Children’s, Hopper has organized a benefit concert, featuring national touring band Blitzen Trapper at the Fine Line Music Café on Dec. 12 presented by 89.3 The Current and McTerry Music. Local standouts Farewell Milwaukee, Bigtree Bonsai and Old Desert Road will also perform. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door and $50 for VIP (balcony access and $20 bar tab); doors open for the concert at 7 p.m. Tickets are selling fast and can be purchased here.

There will be a pre-event silent auction sponsored by IPR directly next door to the Fine Line at 300 N. First Ave. from 4-7 p.m., featuring live acoustic music by local musicians David and Zach Young (Down and Above, Going to the Sun) and Ray Smart (The Attley Project, Meridian Incident). Admission to that event is $10 and includes free food and drinks, as well as two complimentary raffle tickets for prizes to be given away after the concert at the Fine Line (need not be present to win). Tickets can be purchased here. People with tickets to the concert will be admitted free. If you cannot attend either event but want to support the cause, give today.

Meet Julia

When Julia grows up, she wants to be a veterinarian so she can take care of cute animals.

When Julia grows up, she wants to be a veterinarian so she can take care of cute animals.

When exploring the impact of supporting a child’s tomorrow, we went straight to the source: our patients. We asked several to share how Children’s has played a role in their life today, and what they look forward to in their tomorrow. This is what we learned.

Q4_mighty_buttonName: Julia

Age: 8

Hometown: Elk River

When she was 5 years old, Julia was taken to Children’s after her mom discovered she was turning blue and feeling extra-tired. He lungs collapsed, and doctors discovered that Julia has a rare asthma, triggered by viruses.

When Julia grows up, she wants to be a veterinarian so she can take care of cute animals.

She likes practically everything about Children’s, so she’s raising $1,000 annually for the next five years to help other kids.

Meet Katie

What Katie loves most about Children’s is the music therapy program.

What Katie loves most about Children’s is the music therapy program.

When exploring the impact of supporting a child’s tomorrow, we went straight to the source: our patients. We asked several to share how Children’s has played a role in their life today, and what they look forward to in their tomorrow. This is what we learned.

Q4_mighty_buttonName: Katie

Age: 5

Hometown: Eden Prairie

Katie was rushed from Abbott Northwestern Hospital to Children’s after she was born 15 weeks early. She only weighed a pound and had to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for 99 days. According to her mom, she is now happy, healthy and doing wonderfully.

When Katie grows up, she wants to be a dancer. She loves to dance.

What Katie loves most about Children’s is the music therapy program. Her brother, a member of our Youth Advisory Council (YAC), even helped to design a music cart for the music therapists at Children’s.

First-year nonprofit raises more than $62,000 for Children’s pain clinic

From left: Betsy Grams, CycleHealth executive director; Andrew Warmuth, Children's physical therapist; Kristina Swenson, CycleHealth Kid Advisory Panel leader; and Tony Schiller, CycleHealth chief motivator, pose for a photo Monday, Nov. 17, 2014, during an awards banquet to recognize the $62,800 CycleHealth raised for Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

From left: Betsy Grams, CycleHealth executive director; Andrew Warmuth, Children’s physical therapist; Kristina Swenson, CycleHealth Kid Advisory Panel leader; and Tony Schiller, CycleHealth chief motivator, pose for a photo Monday, Nov. 17, 2014, during an awards banquet to recognize the $62,800 CycleHealth raised for Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

The new pain clinic at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota is the beneficiary of a generous group of kids.

CycleHealth, a first-year, Minnesota-based nonprofit, raised $62,800 with its first annual BreakAway Kids Tri at Lake Elmo Park Reserve in August. Four hundred forty-six kids competed in the triathlon (swim, bike, run), with 126 children raising money for Children’s.

Members of CycleHealth’s Kid Advisory Panel, which is comprised of the group’s top fundraisers, chose Children’s as its charity partner. A check was presented to Children’s for the Kiran Stordalen and Horst Rechelbacher Pediatric Pain, Palliative and Integrative Medicine Clinic at an awards banquet Monday night in Minneapolis.

Q4_mighty_buttonThe clinic, named after late Aveda founder Horst Rechelbacher and his wife and business partner, who donated $1.5 million for the project, is scheduled to open in January at Children’s – Minneapolis.

“We wanted to be involved in a local venture,” Tony Schiller, chief motivator for CycleHealth, said of his organization. “The premise was that we’d go out and ask corporate sponsors and friends in the community to help create a new cycle of health in America by impacting kids and motivating them to do lifelong sports like running, biking, swimming – and raising money for charities. It’s not just about crossing a finish line, but serving.”

There are three spokes to the CycleHealth mission wheel: attitude, adventure and significance. Attitude represents the importance of how you think; adventure incorporates fun with fitness; and significance stresses that kids can inspire communities to solve big problems.

“We want to promote a love for sport and movement and to be healthy, as well as a kindness of heart and serving kids,” Schiller said.

Zack Novak, 11, of Minneapolis, participated in the first annual CycleHealth BreakAway Kids Tri and raised money for Children's.

Zack Novak, 11, of Minneapolis, participated in the first annual CycleHealth BreakAway Kids Tri and raised money for Children’s.

“The part that’s unique and attractive about CycleHealth is they believe in the power of kids,” said Jenna Weidner, 16, of Minnetonka, who raised $3,200 and has been fundraising for various charities since she was 8. “A lot of people are afraid to bring kids into it because of the perceived chaos, but kids are an untapped group with a lot of potential.”

CycleHealth plans to run educational, fitness and motivational programs through world-class, adventure-based events that benefit a charitable partner. Goals for the 2015 event to support the clinic include significant increases in overall participants, fundraising kids, and dollars raised.

“It was an incredible experience. Even if you didn’t win the race, it felt like you did,” said Zack Novak, 11, of Minneapolis, who raised more than $1,600 and is a member of the Kid Advisory Panel. “You feel like you did something for a purpose.”

Follow CycleHealth on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Meet Abbey

When Abbey, 6, grows up, she wants to be a ballet dancer because being a ballet dancer would be awesome (OR because she’s great at turning and leaping).

When Abbey, 6, grows up, she wants to be a ballet dancer because being a ballet dancer would be awesome (OR because she’s great at turning and leaping).

When exploring the impact of supporting a child’s tomorrow, we went straight to the source: our patients. We asked several to share how Children’s has played a role in their life today, and what they look forward to in their tomorrow. This is what we learned.

Q4_mighty_buttonName: Abbey

Age: 6

Hometown: Minneapolis

Born five weeks early and with myriad medical issues, Abbey has been a patient at Children’s since birth. At age 4, she underwent open heart surgery to correct a potential life-threatening defect. She continues to visit our rehab clinic on a regular basis.

When Abbey grows up, she wants to be a ballet dancer because being a ballet dancer would be awesome (OR because she’s great at turning and leaping).

Abbey loves everything about Children’s, especially the rehab gyms where she has gotten to know several of the therapists and staff.

Meet Abbey, future ballerina from Children’s of Minnesota on Vimeo.

Garth Brooks visits Child Life Zone in St. Paul

Country singer Garth Brooks holds a child during his visit at the Child Life Zone at Children's – St. Paul on Friday, Nov. 7, 2014. (Photo by Ali Hogan / Alberta Lu Photography)

Country singer Garth Brooks holds a child during his visit at the Child Life Zone at Children’s – St. Paul on Friday, Nov. 7, 2014. (Ali Hogan / Alberta Lu Photography)

Q4_mighty_buttonGarth Brooks was a hit during his visit to Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota’s St. Paul hospital Friday. The country music superstar, who is in the middle of an 11-day, 11-show stay in the Twin Cities, signed autographs, posed for photos and visited with patients and their families to celebrate the opening of the Child Life Zone, an in-hospital play center for patients and their siblings.

Brooks stopped by patient rooms and visited with families and nursing staff before being greeted by a parade of fans that lined his walk to the Child Life Zone. Other celebrities on hand for the event included Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph, Pro Football Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz, former Minnesota Wild center Wes Walz, Minnesota Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen and boxer Caleb Truax.

PHOTO GALLERY: Garth Brooks visits Children’s – St. Paul

The Child Life Zone at Children’s – St. Paul is one of 11 zones in children’s hospitals across the U.S. and opened in February. The first Child Life Zone was founded in Dallas in 2002 by Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman. Brooks co-founded Teammates for Kids in 1999.

VIDEO: There’s something for everybody at the Child Life Zone

Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph (center) and Garth Brooks are greeted by fans on the third floor at Children's – St. Paul.

Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph (center) and Garth Brooks are greeted by fans on the third floor at Children’s – St. Paul. (Ali Hogan / Alberta Lu Photography)

Meet Elijah

Elijah loves to come to Children’s because his friends (doctors, nurses and respiratory staff) are great, and he also really likes riding the elevators.

Elijah loves to come to Children’s because his friends (doctors, nurses and respiratory staff) are great, and he also really likes riding the elevators.

When exploring the impact of supporting a child’s tomorrow, we went straight to the source: our patients. We asked several to share how Children’s has played a role in their life today, and what they look forward to in their tomorrow. This is what we learned.

Q4_mighty_buttonName: Elijah

Age: 9

Hometown: Elk River

Elijah has been diagnosed with Shwachman-Diamond syndrome. He has been to Children’s on multiple occasions, and received care in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU), cancer and blood disorders clinics, emergency department and much more.

When Elijah grows up, he wants to be a “money man” so he can buy M&M’s for everyone, or maybe an astronaut or a doctor because they are awesome.

Elijah loves to come to Children’s because his friends (doctors, nurses and respiratory staff) are great, and he also really likes riding the elevators.