Children's Minnesota in the News

Former patient’s dad donates $20,000 to Children’s Minnesota to honor his son’s memory

On Wednesday, Jack Lester – the father of Marcus Tolbert, a former patient at Children’s Minnesota – donated $20,000 worth of money and gifts to Children’s Minnesota in the name of his late son. Mr. Lester delivered a check for $17,480, and ten Nintendo Switch video game systems, to Children’s Minnesota’s St. Paul campus. Our St. Paul hospital was Marcus’ primary care facility in the Twin Cities before he tragically passed away from a rare lung disease in 2019. Earlier this year, Mr. Lester partnered with local businesses in his hometown of Rochester, Minnesota to hold a fundraiser as a way to honor his son. The donations will support the Pediatric Pulmonology program, Child Life program and other departments at Children’s Minnesota’s St. Paul campus. Marcus – who many knew as M-dog – would have turned eleven years old on March 27, 2022.

“Children’s Minnesota is extremely grateful for Mr. Lester’s generous donation in memory of Marcus; his gift will make a big difference for our patients throughout our St. Paul campus,” said Jenny Soderholm, president of the Children’s Minnesota Foundation. “Donations to Children’s Minnesota do more than help us provide life-saving medical care for kids. They also support programs within our non-profit organization such as music therapy, patient birthday parties and much more.”

“My hope is that these donations will help put smiles on the faces of the kids being cared for now at Children’s Minnesota in St. Paul,” said Jack Lester, Marcus’ father. “Looking back, Children’s Minnesota became a space that we were all comfortable in. They assisted my family in every aspect of life. More than anything, Marcus was comfortable there. He lived a beautiful life and touched the hearts of so many.”

Media coverage

Watch Marcus and Jack’s story from KTTC-TV in Rochester, or read their story from KARE 11 in the Twin Cities.

Cole Heath