Giving News & Highlights

The fight against Joe Bully

While fighting a brain tumor he calls ‘Joe Bully’, 6-year-old Gavin has shown only strength and determination.

giving spotlightAfter undergoing five surgeries that lasted 20 hours each, on top of chemotherapy, part of Gavin's brain tumor remained. Only months ago, his family and doctors won a battle with Pfizer to offer Gavin a trial drug, known as CDK to help stop the growth. And while the drug seems to have worked, their fight is not over yet.

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The beat goes on...

gabe twins
Celebrating Gabe's new pacemaker
by meeting MN Twins player,
Justin Morneau.

Just a few short months ago, Gabriel took the stage and shared his musical talents of playing the drums with a filled auditorium.

You would have never suspected that 12 years earlier, only two weeks after he was born, Gabe was in total heart failure due to an undiagnosed multiple congenital heart defects. He spent years going through surgeries, check-ups and echocardiograms at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. And six years ago, he underwent open heart surgery followed by the placement of a permanent pacemaker.

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4 ways you can help during the flu season

Everywhere I look, there are headlines about influenza and how serious the illness can be for the young and elderly. Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota is seeing a record number of flu cases. We have had more positive cases in the last two weeks than during the busiest week of the H1N1 pandemic.

flu So what can friends and families do to show support and love when a child of a family member or friend gets sick and is hospitalized? I’ve talked with nurses and other family support staff to find out the best ways you can help during times like these.

1. Help Children's Family Resource Center provide meals and snacks to families.
You can do that by:

2. Help out at home.
While spending time with their children in the hospital, families need help keeping their lives outside of the hospital going. Volunteer to help with things like meal planning, child care and transportation, pet care, household chores and communicating to friends and family.

CaringBridge, one of Children’s partners, provides the "Support Planner Tool" that helps friends and family work together to coordinate helpful tasks.

3. Provide a life-saving donation of blood and platelets.
Some of the treatments for our most severely ill patients with the flu require blood products for their treatment and recovery. Donations can be made at Memorial Blood Centers or the American Red Cross.

4. Make a donation now to Children’s most urgent needs.
Children's needs your help to support our most urgent needs. We never turn a child away and are grateful to our generous community for the support that allows us to provide some of the best medical care in the world – regardless of a family’s ability to pay. All donations can be made in tribute to a friend or loved one.

Margie Nelson works for the Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota Foundation and focuses her time on supporting families during and after their stay Children’s.

Welcome Mother Baby Center!

This month there is a "special delivery" at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, and it is the opening of our new Mother Baby Center, a collaboration between Abbott Northwestern Hospital and Children’s. In celebration, it seems fitting to share a story that will illustrate why moms, dads and babies will be overjoyed to be together, under one shiny new roof. Here is one family’s story . . .

nina-and-turtle
Nina Riesen at 14 years old.

Our daughter Nina was born at Abbott Northwestern Hospital eight weeks early on April 25, 1994. She was immediately given a breathing tube and taken from Abbott, through the dark and dingy underground tunnel, over to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Children's in Minneapolis. It really helped me to know that Nina could be over at Children’s with her dad, Dean. After a few hours, Dean was given the okay to push me in a wheelchair through the tunnel so I could see our daughter.

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Stockings filled with love

At 16-months-old, Charlie Boudreau was diagnosed with an incurable mitochondrial disease, and spent most of his last months at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

boudreau charlie
Charlie during a continuous EEG study in Dec. 2010

Throughout the time Charlie spent at Children’s, he received care tailored to his needs. The pain and palliative care program was instrumental in helping his team, lead by Dr. Kaci Onsenga, create a treatment plan, and his nurses, Suzie Harvey, Jen Warber, Ginger Pahos, and Kim Paris, were among the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) staff that showed great love and compassion to Charlie and his family.

“When you are buried in all of the crazy emotions surrounding your sick child, it can be daunting to find the good, or to believe anyone understands what you are going through,” said Charlie’s mom, Becky. “But in October of 2011, just a few months after Charlie had passed and approaching our first Christmas without him, I remembered having received a small stocking while in the PICU.”

boudreau stockings
Charlie's parents, Chris and Becky,
dropping of their 2011 donation
of stockings

Inspired by their own experience, Chris and Becky Boudreau started the Stocking Project to deliver stockings stuffed with goodies to patient families at holiday time, knowing what a difference it made during their stay.

"The reason Children’s will forever hold a special place in my heart and I will continue to work to support this amazing organization, is because more than the expert care and kid-friendly touches, more than the vivid paint colors and artwork installations, more than the red wagons and bikes in the hallways, it is the love and extraordinary compassion that we witnessed, on a daily basis, for our son,” said Becky. For the Boudreau’s, through the loss of Charlie, they say that their eyes have been opened to a world that most parents do not have to experience. But as Becky has shared, “Children’s will make whatever daunting journey you are facing with your child a bit easier to navigate.”

Charlie’s family and friends plan to continue sharing his spirit of quiet strength and unflappable courage by supporting other PICU families and continue giving to Children’s annually in memory of Charlie.