Press Releases

Children’s Minnesota Star Gala inspires record breaking support from the community

$2.3 million raised to support genomic medicine program at Children’s

MINNEAPOLIS – (April 15, 2019) – Generous supporters throughout the Twin Cities gathered on Saturday for the 28th annual Star Gala to benefit patients and families of Children’s Minnesota, a non-profit pediatric health system.  The annual event brought more than 900 people to The Depot in Minneapolis and raised a record breaking $2.3 million of vital funds to help Children’s diagnose and treat kids dealing with rare and complex genetic conditions.

Hosted by co-emcees Belinda Jensen of KARE 11 and Obadiah Gamble, a patient at Children’s, this year’s gala highlighted the importance of genomic medicine, a fascinating field of study at the forefront of modern medicine. Children’s has the only genomic medicine program in Minnesota that focuses exclusively on kids, and is pioneering new ways to diagnose, evaluate and treat conditions using patients’ genetic information.

“About 90 percent of diseases have a genetic component, so our program sees more than 2,500 kids and teens annually,” said Dr. Emily Chapman, MD, chief medical officer and vice president of medical affairs at Children’s Minnesota. “As one of the first hospitals to offer rapid genome testing, which can diagnose faster than ever before, Children’s is providing the critical answers needed to improve patient outcomes.”

Children’s is home to one of the leading pediatric pharmacogenomics programs in the nation in addition to offering life-saving gene therapy and gene-editing programs focused on correcting defective genes while babies are still in the womb. With vital financial support from community donors, Children’s is making these cutting-edge treatments accessible to patients and families across the region.

The Star Gala, presented by APi Group Inc., offered guests both entertainment and moving stories from families who’ve experienced care at Children’s. Through video, the Koch family of Maple Grove shared their journey with Aiden, their first child, who died of an extremely rare genetic disorder shortly after his first birthday. Children’s genomic medicine program helped them identify and understand Aiden’s condition and positively move forward with their family plans. The Koch family shared on stage how they have become grateful donors to Children’s. For those interested in making a financial contribution to Children’s genomic medicine program, visit

“Children’s Minnesota relies on generous community support to continue to develop innovative and game-changing initiatives in the field of pediatric health care,” said Dr. Marc Gorelick, president and CEO of Children’s Minnesota. “We specialize in kids and that sets Children’s apart from any other health system in this region. Community donations makes a big difference to the many families who depend and count on Children’s to be there when their child needs help.”

The Star Gala also included a silent and live auction, dinner and dancing. The fund-a-need raised more than half a million dollars, with an incredible gift from the 22 Children’s Star Gala Youth Committee members of nearly $67,000. Top sponsors at this year’s event include: APi Group, Inc., BeEvents, Delta Air Lines,  and Great Clips.

 About Children’s Minnesota
Children’s Minnesota is the seventh largest pediatric health system 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 serves kids throughout the Upper Midwest at two free-standing hospitals, 12 primary and specialty care clinics and six rehabilitation sites. Additionally, Children’s is Minnesota’s only Level I pediatric trauma center inside a hospital dedicated solely to children. Children’s 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 received Magnet® recognition from The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) and was verified as a Level I Children’s Surgery Center by the American College of Surgeons in 2018. Additionally, Children’s is regularly ranked by U.S. News & World Report as a top children’s hospital. Please visit

Hayley Sitz