Press Releases

25th annual Children’s Minnesota Star Gala raises $2 million to support cutting-edge pediatric diabetes care

This signature event has raised more than $20 million over 25 years to advance pediatric care in the Upper Midwest.

Minneapolis, Minn. – (April 19, 2016) – On Saturday, April 16, more than 1,000 people gathered at the Historic Milwaukee Road Depot in Minneapolis to raise $2 million for the Diabetes and Endocrinology program at Children’s Minnesota.

One in every 400 children and teens under age 20 has type 1 diabetes and more than 15,000 children in the United States are diagnosed each year. The Children’s McNeely Pediatric Diabetes Center treats three-quarters of the pediatric patients living with type 1 diabetes in the region. While type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented and there currently isn’t a cure, careful management can prevent long-term health issues and improve quality of life for patients today and into the future.

The team of experts at Children’s Minnesota is working to develop a revolutionary program to create a 24/7 care model for this 24/7 disease, using technology to track patient data and deliver it in real time to the care team. This model aims to improve quality of life and access to care, reduce overall costs and lead to healthy habits.

“We are so proud of the diabetes research we are conducting, and fortunate to have such generous community support for this initiative,” said Theresa Pesch, RN, president of Children’s Health Care Foundation. “The money raised at this year’s Gala will help revolutionize pediatric diabetes care in this country and contribute to better outcomes for all of the children with this disease.”

The evening included inspiring stories from patients and doctors as well as a silent and live auction, dinner and dancing. This event has raised more than $20 million over the past 25 years.

KARE11 chief meteorologist Belinda Jensen served as event emcee for the seventeenth time. Returning as co-emcee was 14-year-old JJ Harrington, a Children’s Minnesota heart patient. The featured patient at this year’s gala was 16-year-old Abbie Nelson, who shared her story of living with type 1 diabetes and receiving treatment at Children’s Minnesota.

A photo recap of the evening’s festivities can be found here.

Target, Pediatric Home Service, Great Clips, Upsher-Smith, Greg & Jane Goven and BeEvents were among the major sponsors of the event.

About Children’s Minnesota

Children’s Minnesota is one of the largest pediatric health systems in the United States and the only health system in Minnesota to provide care exclusively to children, from before birth through young adulthood. An independent and not-for-profit system since 1924, Children’s Minnesota serves kids throughout the Upper Midwest at two free-standing hospitals, 12 primary and specialty-care clinics and six rehabilitation sites. Children’s Minnesota maintains its longstanding commitment to the community to improve children’s health by providing high-quality, family-centered pediatric services and advancing those efforts through research and education. This work is made possible in large part by generous philanthropic and volunteer support from individuals and organizations throughout the state and region. An award-winning health system, Children’s Minnesota is regularly ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a top children’s hospital and by The Leapfrog Group for quality and efficiency. Please visit