Elsie as a child

Mighty Blog

Why I Walk for Amazing: Elsie’s Story

Parents Paul and Spencer welcomed their daughter, Elsie, in October of 2012. Though Paul, local radio station Cities 97.1 host, admits being first-time parents meant feeling like they didn’t have many answers, they knew something wasn’t right when Elsie hadn’t passed any stool after turning 1 week old.

Initially, their pediatrician wasn’t able to give them answers. After returning to their doctor’s office three times, an x-ray revealed that parts of Elsie’s intestine were inflamed. A doctor recommended they go to Children’s Minnesota, where they stayed overnight for monitoring. Within hours, doctors diagnosed Elsie with Hirschsprung’s Disease, which affects the large intestine and is a result of missing nerve cells in muscles of the patient’s colon, causing problems passing stool.

Elsie in NICU
Fletcher family photo

A few weeks later, Elsie had her first surgery to get a colostomy bag. After six months, it was removed and now at 8 years old, she’s moved to being able to easily manage the remaining effects of the disease. “She remembers the popsicles and toys at Children’s Minnesota,” commented Paul. “But we haven’t had to go to the actual hospital in a long time. We just have yearly updates—it’s wonderful! She loves her Children’s Minnesota pediatrician, Dr. Fatima.”

This May, the family plans to continue their commitment to Children’s and participate in the Virtual Walk for Amazing. “The care at Children’s Minnesota is unmatched. I always say, you wouldn’t take an adult to a children’s hospital, so why take a child to an adult hospital?” said Paul. “We participate in the Virtual Walk for Amazing because we feel a need to give back and spread the word… we want as much awareness as possible, so when the next family is in our position, they know to take their child to Children’s Minnesota.”

Cities 97.1 has been dedicated to supporting the Twin Cities community for over 30 years, and joined the Walk for Amazing two years ago as an official radio sponsor to join forces with Paul’s efforts, spreading the word to on-air listeners and through online resources to help raise awareness and donations.

The 2021 Virtual Walk for Amazing

Join Elsie and her family at this year’s virtual event and move, shake, raise much-needed funds—and say “thank you” in a very special way.


Register for free right now—it’s easy to create a team with friends and family or join one like Elsie’s. Or you can register as an individual; either way, you’ll be supporting Children’s Minnesota’s highly specialized, compassionate family-centered care.

Alexandra Rothstein