Since 1992 inception, Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota’s annual fundraiser has raised more than $12.8 million

Minneapolis, Minn. – (April 24, 2012) – Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota’s Star Gala, the 21st Annual Thank God for Kids event, drew more than 940 guests to the Historic Milwaukee Road Depot on April 21, 2012. The event raised $2.1 million to benefit the support, care and comfort to children and families coping with cancer and blood disorders, as well as construction of a new Neuroscience Center at Children’s St. Paul campus.

Through a silent and live auction, Children’s Star Gala raised money for two core areas:

  • Cancer and blood disorders program: Children’s treats more than 70 percent of the children with cancer in the Twin Cities. Its cancer and blood disorders program has helped support new research; provide patient and family education; build new facilities; and provide services such as child life, chaplaincy, pain and integrative medicine.
  • The Neuroscience Center: Children’s new Neuroscience Center will combine all brain and spine specialties in one location to improve care coordination and outcomes for kids battling traumatic brain injuries, epilepsy, brain tumors and cancers, concussions, mental illnesses and other issues related to the head and spine. The Center is relying on philanthropy and will be built as soon as all money is raised.

“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.

The capacity crowd was brought to tears, and to their feet, following a performance by 10-year-old Caiah Rodgers, a Children’s patient and leukemia survivor, singing her rendition of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful.”

“Once I lost my hair, I didn’t know if I would be beautiful anymore,” Caiah said during an interview with event emcee Frank Vascellaro of WCCO-TV. “I want other kids to know that they are beautiful, no matter what.”

Parents Emily and Masud Mamun also shared the story of their 3-year-old daughter Lyla, a brain tumor survivor, who endured multiple brain, spine and other surgeries, rendering her temporarily quadriplegic. Through the care she received at Children’s, Lyla is now walking, and thriving.

Once the event program wrapped, attendees danced to 1980s cover band The Spazmatics.

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.