Category Archives: Philanthropy

Star Gala raises over $2M for Children’s

Star Gala performance Caiah's performance of "Beautiful" by Christina Aguilera for Children'sThe crowd was brought to tears following a performance by 10-year-old Caiah Rodgers, a Children’s patient and leukemia survivor, singing her rendition of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful.”

We held our Star Gala, the 21st Annual Thank God for Kids event, on April 21 to raise money to benefit the support, care, and comfort to children and families at Children’s. This year’s Star Gala had a fantastic turnout, drawing more than 940 guests to the Historic Milwaukee Road Depot to show their support.

Through silent and live auctions, sponsorships, and donations, Children’s Star Gala raised $2.1 million for the cancer and blood disorders program and the new Neuroscience Center!

The cancer and blood disorders program supports new research and provides services to treat more than 70 percent of the children with cancer in the Twin Cities, while our new Neuroscience Center will combine all brain and spine specialties in one location to improve care coordination and outcomes for kids battling head and spine injuries.

“Children’s relies heavily on community support to provide the kind of world-class care families have come to expect from us. The generosity of those who attend our gala never ceases to both amaze and humble me,” said Theresa Pesch, executive director of the Foundation of Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

While the food, dancing, and auctions were a large part of the festivities, the focus of the Star Gala was on the kids that are impacted by our care. Parents Emily and Masud Mamun shared the story of their 3-year-old daughter Lyla, a brain tumor survivor, who endured multiple brain, spine and other surgeries that rendered her temporarily quadriplegic. Through the care she received at Children’s, Lyla is now walking, and thriving.

We couldn’t have pulled this event off without the help of our wonderful sponsors. Major sponsors of the 2012 Children’s Star Gala included Knutson Construction Company, UnitedHealth Group, Great Clips, Ryan Companies U.S., Inc., Whitebox Advisors, RJF Agencies, Dedicated Logistics, Best Buy and API Group, Inc.

Thank you to everyone who attended the 2012 Children’s Star Gala and donated your time and money to support Children’s!

St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraiser at Children’s: Why I am shaving my head

This is a guest post by Tanya Juarez-Sweeney, Child and Family Services Project Specialist at Children’s, who, along with her husband and son, will be shaving her head during Thursday’s St. Baldrick’s Foundation head-shaving event, hosted at Children’s – Minneapolis.

It was a typical day in Star Studio when someone knocked on the door. That someone was Dr. Kris Ann Schultz, one of Children’s pediatric oncologists. This chance encounter would lead me to the decision to join the St. Baldrick’s Foundation fundraiser taking place at Children’s on Thursday, March 29.

“How many women do you have signed up to shave?” a coworker asked.

“None yet. It is harder to get women to sign up,” Dr. Shultz answered.

“I’d shave my head for that cause,” I chimed in.

“If you do that, I’ll donate $50,” my coworker replied

“If you do it, I’ll donate $50 too,” Dr. Schultz added.

And so it began.

I spent a few days thinking the decision through, bouncing it off people and considering their opinions. Amusingly, a few people offered to donate to keep me from shaving. Several people shared their stories of someone they knew who was a patient at Children’s; touching my heart and reaffirming the immense pride I have in the work we do here.

Ultimately it came down to the question “Why wouldn’t I?” Would I look too scary to lead the children’s field trips at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts where I volunteer? Would my own children get teased at school about their mother’s new look? What would they think? Exactly. What message would I send my children and the children I volunteer with if I did this? A darn good one, I decided.

As a former Army Staff Sergeant, I believe in leading by example; walking the walk. I’m not only sending a message to the children fighting this disease that I stand by them and support them, I am creating teachable moments for those around these families, and raising money for research to boot; win-win-win.

I have been asked a plethora of questions:

“What do your husband and kids think?” My daughter and son think I will look like a ‘cool punk girl.’ In fact, my son thinks it is so great, he has signed up to shave with me and my daughter donated her hair to Locks of Love.

My husband is also a Children’s employee. He tells me I’ll be “striking” and I know that he loves me in part for the fact that I am not superficial, but I know he’ll miss these crazy locks of hair. How lucky am I that he “gets it.” Not only does he get it, he’s also going to shave with me. What an amazing life partner I have.

 “Are you going to wear a scarf/hat/wig after the shave?” Sure, maybe a hat once in awhile. I like hats. But doesn’t that defeat part of the purpose? I’m raising money for this cause but also sending a message to the hematology/oncology kids I see every day. I care. I stand by you. I admire your strength. And thanks for showing me how to rock this look!

“Do you think you might cry when they shave your head?” If you have looked at any of the photos on the St Baldrick’s website, you are bound to come across some tears. For a few, they may be tears of loss from the attachment they have to their hair. For many I think the tears are symbolic of their support and dedication to this cause.

Will I cry? I’ve thought about this. My head will either be shaved by my co-worker (who will be MC’ing the show as our beloved TV character, The Dude) or by a patient. If a patient does the shaving, I’m pretty sure I’ll shed a few tears.

I’ve been hearing a lot of feedback about how brave I am to shave my head for this cause. But I am not the brave one; the kids who fight this disease are.

Recently, I heard a mother express concern about her 9-year-old daughter returning to school and getting teased by her classmates because she not only has no hair, she also has a large scar from her surgery. This girl touched my heart. Her bravery is bigger than anything I can imagine.

Anytime something unjust happens to a child, it fills me with sadness and helplessness. What can I do? What is in my power? Perhaps there isn’t much I can do. But maybe the smallest thing, like shaving my head, can make a statement that I care. And if it raises money for children’s cancer research in the process, then what a great thing.

Our end-of-year giving campaign

We launched our new end-of-year giving campaign this week, including three new commercials that focus on the importance of giving locally, our pediatric cancer program and how we treat every kid who walks through our doors. As you consider giving during the holiday season, please remember what it means to take care of Minnesota kids. Please consider making a gift. Your support makes all the difference.

A sick kid without insurance is still a kid. And we treat every kid who needs it. Last year alone, we provided more than $50 million of care that wasn’t covered by insurance. Your support helps make this possible.

 

We treat more kids with cancer than any other hospital in the state. From clinical research to pain management to early physical therapy, your donations help us provide local kids with the very best cancer care.

Your support helps ensure that local kids will continue to receive some of best pediatric care in the country. Hey, we’re Minnesotans. We believe in taking care of our own.

 

Join us for the MN MUSIC 4 MN KIDS CD release party Nov. 13

We’re excited to share news about MN MUSIC 4 MN KIDS, new collaboration between Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota and some of the most talented musicians in our state. Each of the artists on this album donated their time and talent for one reason: They care about Minnesota’s kids.

All proceeds from the CD and the event will support Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota and our commitment to providing the best possible care to all children. Come to our release party Nov. 13 to see some of the bands and grab the CD! Continue reading

Minnesota Wild Captain Mikko Koivu sponsors private patient rooms at Children’s – St. Paul

Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu checks out one of the rooms he sponsored at Children's - St. Paul for the first time.

Today, Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu announced a generous donation to Children’s – St. Paul to sponsor two private patient rooms in the new Neuroscience and Epilepsy Center. The rooms will be decorated with Wild and Koivu memorabilia, photos, posters and collectibles.

The Wild have been long-time supporters of Children’s. Koivu has been a frequent visitor, spending time with patients and families. On a recent tour of Children’s, he wanted to do something to give back and decided to sponsor two private patient rooms.

Unfortunately, rooms on this floor will not be open to families until Children’s receives philanthropic support for all the private patient rooms on this unit. That’s why generous acts like this are so important to Children’s, and why Koivu is asking others in the business community to consider touring the facility to see firsthand the care that is provided.

If you’d like to join Koivu in his spirit of generosity, please consider making a gift to Children’s by contacting Jennifer Peterson at our Foundation by calling 612-813-7075.

Therapy dogs help child with autism


Kadin’s story: Hope on a Leash: MyFoxTWINCITIES.com

Kadin, who was diagnosed with autism, struggled to communicate, would often have breakdowns and had trouble paying attention during his therapy sessions at Children’s. That’s where Sasha came in.

Sasha is one of our therapy dogs in our Pets Assisting With Healing program. At the suggestion of Nicole Linstrom, Kadin’s occupational therapist, Sasha began attending Kadin’s therapy sessions. Kadin immediately bonded with Sasha, and having her there helped him pay more attention during his sessions.

Therapy dogs worked so well for Kadin that his family even adopted a therapy dog of their own, Truman, from Can Do Canines.

Our Pets Assisting With Healing volunteers help patients with development and rehabilitation and brighten their stay in the hospital.

Learn more about our Pets Assisting With Healing program, and see Sasha and others in action working with patients here:



Isaiah gives back to Children’s

Isaiah and Mikah sports SpiritDomes, which designed a hat specifically for Isaiah.

One of our patients, Isaiah, recently came back to Children’s to donate $300 raised through sales of a hat specifically designed for him.

In 2008, Isaiah Peters arrived at Children’s – Minneapolis, after doctors in his home town of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, diagnosed him with hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), a complication commonly associated with E. coli. While at Children’s, he spent 27 days on dialysis for total kidney failure and another seven days on life support, mostly in our PICU. Isaiah pulled through and was discharged.

While at a Christian music festival in September 2009, Isaiah’s family met the owner of a hat company called SpiritDomes. After hearing Isaiah’s story, the owner was inspired to make a hat specifically for Isaiah, with a verse from the Book of Isaiah (Chapter 40, Verse 31) inscribed under the hat’s brim. Since creating the hat, it has been SpiritDome’s top seller.

Isaiah donated $300 from the sales of the Isaiah hat to our Urgent Needs fund, which helps fund Children’s most pressing needs. Isaiah’s dad, Jon, also blogged about the experience of getting to see Isaiah’s care team and the place they spent so much time in not long ago.

Have you considered making a gift in tribute to your experience at Children’s? Learn more about tribute giving.

Help Us Help Kids

We love to share our work in the community — how we work proactively to protect and care for the health of kids and families beyond our hospital walls — with our supporters. Recently, we developed a cool new way to showcase these successes online, too, with our new Help Us Help Kids page.

On the page, you can learn about upcoming community events, how we heal kids, what we’re doing to be a political voice for kids’ health and more. The success of our community partnerships is due to the generosity of our donors. We invite you to continue to support our efforts by making a gift to our charity care efforts, MCRC program, or urgent needs fund.

Volunteers needed for Pine Tree Apple Tennis Classic

You can help the cancer research program at Children’s this weekend by volunteering for the Pine Tree Apple Tennis Classic.

The PTATC, Aug. 4-7 at the Lifetime Fitness in White Bear Lake, is an annual tournament and is considered one of the premier, United States Tennis Association(USTA)-sanctioned, mixed doubles tennis tournaments.

The mission of the PTATC is to host an annual mixed doubles tennis tournament to raise funds that primarily support research to lessen the suffering caused by childhood cancer. All proceeds benefit the cancer research program at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

We need help on the morning of Sunday, Aug. 7, with registration, food and beverage, the water stop, and along the course.  Timing would be about 7-10 a.m., depending on the task.

We’re also looking for help at the tournament.  Our greatest need is on Thursday, Aug. 4, 4-6 p.m. or 6-8 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 6, 11:30-1:30, 1:30-3:30 and 3:30-5:30.  Tasks include ticket sales, food sales, merchandise sales, and clean-up.

Volunteers can contact me at allison.balfanz@childrensnm.org or 651-855-2803.