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The power of volunteering
It was only five years ago that, through my work at the Best Buy corporate offices, that I decided to join a volunteer committee as a way to engage withmy teammates while giving back to the community. My first volunteer opportunity was at the PGA tournament benefiting Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. With 80 fellow employees working the concession stands together, we put in a lot of hard work, had a great time and felt so proud about the cause we were helping. Since then, volunteering through Best Buy has become an important commitment of mine. I now help every year to organize a day for Best Buy employees to volunteer at Children’s booth at that Minnesota State Fair.
After years of volunteering and making connections throughout Children’s, I never expected that one day I would experience first hand what it was like to be a patient family. My twins were born premature at 34 weeks. My son was hospitalized for two weeks and my daughter for an entire month. And while it was a very stressful and scary time, I felt comfort every time I bumped into Children’s staff who had become my friends over the years. And every day I would walk past the Geek Squad Precinct and feel proud to work for such a generous company like Best Buy.
Since my family’s time at Children’s, volunteering has become much more meaningful. I saw firsthand where fundraising dollars go and I experienced the comfort of support from hospital volunteers. From dropping off a handmade blanket, to a promised prayer, they meant so much to me and I will treasure those blankets we brought home. I can tell you that volunteering not only makes you feel amazing, but it without a doubt makes a difference in people's lives. We are so blessed to now have big, healthy and silly 2-year-olds thanks to Children's.
Best Buy's partnership with Children's
Best Buy has been partnering with Children’s for the past 5 years with a goal to enhance the caring environment for patients, family and staff. With onsite Geek Squad Precincts at both Minneapolis and St. Paul, agents are available to provide a full range of technology and expertise. Geek Squad agents help to provide family-centered care by keeping patients, families and staff connected by lending phone chargers, helping parents email photos or setting up CaringBridge® websites to help loved ones stay informed and in touch.
Thanks to a partnership with Magnolia and Best Buy, Children’s – Minneapolis opened a new Teen Lounge in August of 2012. Based on input from Children’s Youth Advisory Council, the lounge serves as a place that teens can use as an escape from the hospital to hang out with their peers and have a good time.
Not only does Best Buy provide these great experiences with the hospital, they also have sponsored multiple events and have donated thousands of dollars to hospital programs. Children’s is thankful for all of the support we receive from Best Buy and their employees. They are making a difference for kids and families every day.
The fight against Joe Bully
While fighting a brain tumor he calls ‘Joe Bully’, 6-year-old Gavin has shown only strength and determination.
After 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.
There is a revolutionary technology provided by an MRI-guided laser that uses heat and imaging to kill tumors that may otherwise be inoperable. The laser, which costs approximately $400,000, would be less invasive, result in shorter recovery time and aid those suffering from brain tumors and other neurological disorders and problems including epilepsy.
Gavin and his family have such incredible strength and drive that they have inspired the community around them. After learning about their story on the local news, people from throughout the area have donated in hope of raising enough money to purchase this potentially life-saving laser.
To help Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota secure this lifesaving treatment for kids like Gavin, please donate today.
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 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.
I received constant updates as Nina did well with breathing. Within six or seven hours her tube was removed. The helpful NICU staff encouraged Dean and me to hold and touch Nina almost immediately and shared how important it was for her to have the love and comfort from our physical touch.
I was released from Abbott after three days and 10 days later, Nina was ready to come home…just in time for Mother's Day weekend! Today Nina is a college freshman who enjoys playing sports, reading and playing the piano. She has trained as a wilderness EMT and recent mission trips to Tanzania and several American Indian reservations have sparked an interest in a career in public health.
Our family likes to reminisce about Nina's birth and how special Children’s is to our family. We’re thankful for the new Mother Baby Center that will allow families to be together throughout the entire birthing process. Moms will no longer have to be separated from their babies who require extra care by a long tunnel, but instead can share a room and the entire family can be together.
2013 Wilbur Cares Dance
Party at the Calhoun Square
location in Minneapolis
We’re proud to continue to support Children’s through Dean’s position as Chairman of Famous Dave’s. The restaurant partners with Children’s through the Wilbur Cares program. The mission of Wilbur Cares is to enrich the lives of children dealing with life-threatening illnesses by providing meals, donations and friendly faces. One way Wilbur Cares supports Children’s is through their Wilbur Cares Dance Party that features live music, a silent auction, games, great BBQ and fun for the whole family! Find out more about Famous Dave's partnership with Children's.
The beat goes on...
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.
Gabe’s grandmother, Jeanne Wyatt, was a nurse for many years and was committed to “restoring the pure joy that is reflected in the eyes of a healthy child.” Wyatt was so touched by the care and comfort Gabe and their entire family received while at Children’s that she was inspired to renew her commitment she made as a nurse. By making an endowed gift, she would ensure that “joy is reflected in the eyes of all children, now and in the future.”
The Heart of Gabriel Endowment Fund is providing Children’s with a permanent source of income that will support patients, their families, professional staff and important programming related to the cardiovascular program. In an endowment, the principle gift is earning an annual interest income which is utilized for the specified purpose. The principle gift amount is never used and remains everlasting to help in providing a secure future and growth within the designated program. Find out more about the planned giving program at Children’s.
Now 12, Gabe wears his scars as a badge of honor. And as he practices drums at home, he is a constant reminder to his grandmother and the rest of his family that, thanks to the commitment of amazing nurses and doctors at Children’s, “the beat goes on…”
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.
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:
- Donating non-perishable and microwave-ready meals like Hormel Compleats and Barilla pasta and sauce.
- Donating individually wrapped treats or snacks like 100-calorie snack packs or snack-sized candy bars, granola bars or breakfast bars.
- Donating directly to the food pantry through our online Giving Store.
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.
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.