Mighty Blog

Meet the Team Superstars athletes running at Grandma’s Marathon weekend

Team Superstars is our charity team of athletes who go the extra mile. They commit to raising money in support of vital programs for Children’s Minnesota, and take on the challenge of participating in local, regional and national races.

We are excited to introduce you to the incredible kid experts and grateful families who are running at Grandma’s Marathon (half and full!) on Saturday, June 22, 2024.

See all of the Team Superstars runners representing Children’s Minnesota here.

Children’s Minnesota employees

Alani Brands is a family resource representative at Children’s Minnesota. Alani spent six weeks inpatient at Children’s Minnesota 17 years ago which left a lasting impact on her life. Alani is raising funds for the child and family services program.

Alani as a young child in the hospital
Alani today after running a race

Breanna Bushman is a float team neonatal staff RN at Children’s Minnesota. Breanna time as a nurse has inspired her to fundraise so Children’s Minnesota can continue to support families. Breanna is raising funds for Urgent Needs.

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Elliot Nelson works as a member of the Geek Squad at Children’s Minnesota. Elliot has been a member of Geek Squad since 2012 and is an ultramarathoner. He runs Grandma’s Marathon and the Twin Cities Marathon annually for Team Superstars. He also hosts his own Baby Backyard Ultra 5K-50K Run where runners run a 5K every hour, on the hour, for 10 hours. He is inspired by the kids he meets through his work and has been forever changed by these experiences. Elliot is fundraising for the Cancer Kids Fund.

Elliot Nelson outside in the winter on a run

Rachel Pfenning-Wendt is a physician assistant in the neurosurgery clinic at Children’s Minnesota. Rachel was diagnosed with a rare disease at 18 months old, with tumors covering 75% of her organs. Life expectancy was arbitrary, doctors confided with her parents that it would be miraculous if she lives past the age of 3. Rachel returned to Children’s Minnesota 25 years later as a physician assistant. Rachel is raising funds for the neurosciences program.

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Sarah Wadd is a diagnostic laboratory tech at Children’s Minnesota. Sarah and her husband are running the half marathon together. They are raising money for the neonatal program.

Sarah and her husband by a waterfall

Grateful families

Zach’s 7-year-old son, Liam, was diagnosed with celiac disease last year that opened his eyes to the health and well-being of their son, and all the other children that experience health-related issues. Zach is raising funds for Urgent Needs.

Zach after finishing a race

Melissa Slagle spent a lot of time in hospitals as a patient and while her sister was at appointments. She’s raising funds for the child and family services program.

Melissa running in a race

Rebecca Penning’s daughter was airlifted last year due to dangerously low oxygen levels during a battle with croup. Her family is grateful for the excellent care received. Rebecca is raising funds for the child and family services program.

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