Category Archives: Red Vested Rockstar

Red-Vested Rockstar: Jacob Goodwin

Jacob GoodwinWhy he rocks?! “Ever since I entered college I had an idea that I wanted to pursue medicine as a career, so I looked for volunteer opportunities as a way to get myself in a hospital setting to help me discern if this path was right for me. A friend told me about the great experiences he had had at Children’s, so I applied to volunteer here for the summer of 2014. I started out at the welcome desk then moved to surgery in the fall. I’ve been there ever since except for a semester-long detour last spring when I was studying abroad in Rome! I’m now a senior Biochemistry and Catholic Studies double major at the University of St. Thomas, and I recently was accepted to medical school for next year!”

What is your favorite thing to do outside of volunteering? “I love music, especially singing. I sing in the UST Chamber Singers, a 40-voice mixed choir, and the Summit Singers, an all-male acappella group on campus. Along with being able to create beautiful and fun music with my peers, I love performing and sharing my music with others. I also play the guitar and have dabbled with writing my own songs.”

Do you have any pets or kids of your own? “My family has a 10-year-old yellow lab named Lady that I got for my 12th birthday and my family has had about 25 different cats over my lifetime.”

If you could create a new candy bar, what would be in it and what would you name it? “I would do something that merges Twix and Milky Way—chocolate coating, nougat, caramel, and biscuit. And then I would have to have a version that adds peanut butter. As for a name I’d have to play off of my high school nickname and call it The Goodybar.”

Share a favorite volunteer experience or story: “My favorite moments as a surgery volunteer are every time I get to see parents reunite with their child after surgery. The parents usually come out of the operating room very anxious and scared, and I absolutely love being able to tell them that the surgery is over and their child is doing well. Once we get back to the recovery unit, my favorite thing is seeing the great relief and overwhelming joy on their faces because they get to hold their child again. Life is so beautiful!”

Choosing Children’s: Rachelle Fletschock

Rachelle Fletschock2 “My journey at Children’s Hospital began soon after I entered high school. It was just two days after my freshman homecoming dance when I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Wow, what a way to begin what I thought were supposed to be some of the greatest years of my life. I was admitted to the hospital that day, and so began some of the toughest experiences I’ve ever been through. I’m so thankful for the doctors and nurses at Children’s for making my stays and visits as positive as they possibly could! A most memorable experience was when a volunteer brought a big white therapy dog to my room. I have 3 dogs at home, so seeing a furry friend was just what I needed. I am so grateful for the time and attention that the staff at Children’s paid to me and everyone else who receives care there!

 After 4 long years of high school, and many hours spent at the hospital for MRIs, chemotherapy and appointments, I’m so glad Children’s staff was there to make our experiences the best they could be for me and my family. This health journey definitely played a big part in my choosing to study a medical career in college now. I had started out wanting to be a nurse, but am now going to school to become a radiology technician!

 Facing such major health challenges is why I started volunteering at Children’s. The least I could do is give back and help kids who are going through similar situations, after the love and support I received from Children’s during my treatment. I know the volunteers can’t do as much as the nurses and doctors, but if we can make kids smile and forget about what they are going through, then volunteering is completely worth it. I look forward to the kids I have yet to meet, and cannot wait to (hopefully) make an impact on them like the volunteers did for me years ago.”


Red-Vested Rockstar: Neda Khan

Neda KhanWhy she rocks?! “I recently graduated with my bachelor’s degree from St. Catherine University and I plan to go to medical school. Coming into the Children’s Hospital volunteer program, I was looking forward to exploring the medical field. Volunteering here has given me the opportunity to grow within the community and gain knowledge of the hospital setting. This program has sparked my interest in exploring a future in pediatric medicine.”

Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering? “I am the oldest of 4 and I love being around my siblings and taking them out. Family means a lot to me and I try my best to spend time with them. Apart from spending time with my family, I love to paint, cook and bake in my spare time.”

Do you have any kids or pets? “Although I love pets I don’t have currently any. While volunteering at Children’s Hospital and seeing all the parents and their children has me looking forward to having kids of my own.”

If you could create a new candy bar, what would be in it and what would you name it? “It is hard to think of a new candy bar since there are so many delicious ones already out there. Maybe a hard candy center with the taste of mango and vanilla with an outer mango crème would be really tasty. I would call it Mango Delight.”

Share a favorite volunteer experience or story: “Volunteering at Children’s has given me a lot of memorable and educational experiences. Seeing the staff connecting with their patients has been an amazing experience. For instance, I saw a doctor sing children’s songs like ‘the wheels on the bus’ to a child, which helped them feel comfortable. Another time I saw a doctor draw pictures of the child’s favorite cartoon – ninja turtles – on the equipment to help a child feel at ease in the operating room. Seeing the staff make the extra effort for the children really inspired me and increased my love for the medical field.”

Red-Vested Rockstar: Lucy Schnell

Lucy SchnellWhy she rocks?! “I started volunteering because I love helping others and making people feel better!! I started volunteering my freshman year of high school, and am now 16 years old and going into my junior year! Something interesting about me is that I have a big brother that is handicapped; he requires 24 hour nursing in my house!!”

What is your favorite thing to do outside of volunteering? “My favorite thing to do outside of volunteering would be hanging out with friends and playing piano. I have played piano for about 5 years now, and I absolutely love it!!”

Do you have any pets or kids of your own? “I have 2 dogs; one is an Irish Wolfhound and the other is a Border Collie… they are super cute pups!!”

If you could create a new candy bar, what would be in it and what would you name it? “A candy bar that I would create would be a peanut butter, chocolate, and rice Krispy combination, and I would call it the Reese’s Rice Krispy.”

Share a favorite volunteer experience or story: “My favorite experience from volunteering was playing bored games with a kid for a full 3 hours!! Seeing the kid happy made me so happy!!”

Choosing Children’s: Emily Snowberg

Emily Snowberg

“My connection to Children’s Hospital began in 1992 at the age of three, when I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. During my time as a patient at Children’s I can recall the doctors, nurses and other staff who made me feel special and able to forget for a time that I was sick. The volunteers were also a huge part of my experience. I can still visualize the reading cart passing my room and my mom reading books to me while I would get a shot so I wouldn’t be scared. I remember volunteers bringing a dog into my room and feeling so excited because I loved animals. I am so grateful for the care that I received and the support they provided to my family at that time.

When I entered high school I knew that I wanted to give back to the place that had given me so much. I hoped to use the things I had learned from my own experience with illness to be there for others.   I volunteered in the sibling playroom where I enjoyed having a chance to engage with kids and hopefully take some of the weight off their shoulders.

After high school I moved to Illinois for college and then to Madison, Wisconsin for graduate school. After eight years away, it was time to come home. Returning to Children’s immediately entered my mind. I chose Children’s again because I believe whole heartedly in the work that they do and am constantly impressed with all those who dedicate themselves to the families there. I am currently volunteering in the Perioperative unit. I am still getting settled there and look forward to the experiences and connections yet to come. “

Team Superstars: Christine Cheung

Christy CheungMotivated is one word you could use to describe Christine. A full-time employee with United Healthcare Military & Veterans as a business analyst and part-time employee as a home health aide, she finds time to squeeze in weekly volunteering at Children’s. Her ultimate goal is to become a Pediatric Oncologist, so volunteering in the Cancer & Blood Disorders Clinic seemed a natural fit. In her words, “I find such gratification in working with children, especially those that face physical/medical challenges. They don’t understand the strength they exude when they are able to smile or laugh through their pain.”

In addition to weekly volunteering, Christy is running in the Twin Cities Marathon as part of Team Superstars. She raised money for our organization as she believes in our mission and in our kids… the most amazing people on earth!

Check out her bio below:

“I am so thrilled for the opportunity to represent Children’s Minnesota as a part of Team Superstars in the 2015 Twin Cities Marathon!!!

Honestly, I am a bit nervous going into my training as this is only my second marathon and I am having to overcome a few injuries. However, I am more motivated than ever knowing that I am able to use my passion for running to support such a wonderful organization, amazing staff, and inspiring group of patients!!

The mission of Children’s is to promote the health of pediatric patients through high-quality, family-centered services, education, and research. I have personally witnessed this mission being carried out while working as a volunteer in the Cancer and Blood Disorders Clinic. Day after day, I watch as this exceptional staff goes above and beyond the responsibilities of their job for every patient and their family members. Care teams not only tend to the medical needs of their patients, but go out of their way to make children smile and laugh throughout their visit. Despite the medical hardships these patients are facing, I can tell they truly enjoy their time in the clinic, and it is because of the efforts of the staff!

However, the greatest of these motivators for me is (of course)… the patients! For those of you who don’t know me, several years ago I made the decision to pursue a career in medicine as a Pediatric Oncologist. Those of you who do know me definitely know that my life is dedicated to this goal, and I have been working hard towards it for a long time. Along this journey, I have experienced many aspects of medicine through work, volunteering, missions, and my education. While there are many things I love about this field, there is really only one that keeps me moving forward in this difficult process– seeing a joyful expression on the face of a child in the midst of receiving medical care. Even if it is just for a moment, there is something so uniquely inspiring about seeing a child forget about their physical pain and just smile or laugh… just be a child!!

Through volunteering at Children’s, I have now met a group of individuals who also understand what this looks/feels like and just how important it is to a child’s medical care! While I hope someday to be the one wearing the white coat.. I will settle (for now) supporting the kind-hearted and compassionate doctors/nurses of Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota by running this marathon!”


Red-Vested Rockstar: Chuck Fried

Chuck FriedChuck is the second of 8 children, a father of 4, has 13 grandchildren and 2 (and 1/3) great grandchildren! He is a twice-retired insurance field adjuster, who is glad to have made the decision to volunteer at Children’s.

Why he ROCKS?! “I’ve wanted to volunteer at Children’s for years, but little things (grandchildren for instance) got my attention. Then, my three-year-old great-granddaughter had a birthday party. She invited all her (seven) girlfriends, and they dressed up like princesses with sparkly dresses and shoes. They took over the house with laughter, shouting, singing and dancing. They had such a great time and convinced me that kids can be nice, fun creatures! I wish I would have figured this out sooner and come down (to Children’s) right away when I retired (for the second time) in 2003.

Prior to retiring I was an insurance field adjuster for thirty-four years. When I started, I carpooled with two other fellows. The long ride from St. Paul to the Minneapolis claim office gave us time to talk business; we discussed how we had to send a lot of the claims to outside, or independent, adjusters, and started comparing what we were paying out (with our salaries) for their services. This eventually led us to the decision to form our own firm of independent adjusters.”

Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?Outside of volunteering, and playing with the  ‘grands’ and ‘greatgrands’, I finally have time to read, especially current authors and classics that I never had time for.”

If you could create a new candy bar, what would be in it and what would you name it? “As far as creating my own candybar, the Reeses people did that with their “Fastbreak” bar: chocolate covered peanut bar mounted on nougat. It’s my favorite and I only waited about eighty years for it!”

Share a favorite volunteer experience or story: “I had a very rewarding experience a couple of weeks after I started. The nurse invited me into the room of a toddler who had been crying and coughing for hours. I went around the bed and put my arm through the bed bars. I started talking softly and rubbing his back… then I stopped talking and kept rubbing. Soon he stopped crying, but kept coughing… and then he stopped coughing. I kept rubbing, more gently. Then the nurse came in looking shocked- he had fallen asleep! She told me I did a good job, and I was pleased, because that was why I was there in the first place. It felt good to do the right thing.”

Choosing Children’s: Marilyn Quamme

Marilyn Quamme“I grew up in a very small town in southeast North Dakota. After nursing school, I moved to the Cities and have been here ever since. I worked at an adult hospital for 8+ years and then moved to Minneapolis Children’s where I worked in surgery for 34+ years. I retired 7 years ago and have enjoyed spending my winters in Mesa, Arizona since then. I have always loved kids and thought I would someday volunteer at Children’s rocking babies. I believe in the mission of Children’s and was treated well as an employee so wanted to give back. Someone suggested I volunteer in the Surgery Family Waiting Room. It has been a good fit for me; I know what’s happening back in the OR and feel I can use my knowledge to help allay the fears of families. I love talking to the families and kids before they go into surgery, and I get to see lots of people I used to work with.

One of my most rewarding experiences happened this summer. A nine year old girl whose younger sibling was having surgery preferred to stay with me when her parents went to reunite with their other daughter. She asked if I had time to listen to a story, to which I replied ‘yes’. She was very animated when telling me about the book she was reading. When I had to tend to business, she would patiently wait for me, and pick up right where she left off. When it was time for them to go home, she wrote me a note that said, “Marilyn, you’re a great volunteer”, signed her name, and gave me a big hug. Moments like these make it all worthwhile, and the note still hangs on my refrigerator.”

Red-Vested Rockstar: Abby Lukowicz

Abbie Lukowicz- Red Vested RockstarWhy she ROCKS?! “I’m currently a Pre-Med/Biology student at the University of St. Thomas, graduating this May. I first heard about Children’s Hospital after my roommate, Andrea, would come home from her volunteer shifts practically glowing from all of the amazing experiences she had helping out families and patients. I absolutely love working with kids, and since I’m looking to go into pediatrics after Medical School, I applied to Children’s and have been loving my decision ever since!”

Favorite thing to do outside of volunteering? “I enjoy running (I’m currently training to run my first marathon!), reading books, doing Toxicology research in a Biology lab at school, and hanging out with friends.”

Do you have any kids or pets of your own?  “I have a Shih Tzu named Bug and two fluffy cats named Figaro and Dexter.”

If you could create a new candy bar, what would be in it and what would you name it? “If I could create a new candy bar, it would have lots of espresso beans, salted caramel, and dark chocolate. I’d call it the ‘It’s Monday…Where’s the Caffeine?’ bar.”

Share a favorite volunteer experience or story: “There aren’t enough fingers on my hands or toes on my feet to count my favorite volunteer stories and experiences! But if I had to choose one that stood out most, it would be when I encountered a patient who was a cancer survivor and had stayed at Children’s for an extended time while in treatment. His mom asked if I could take them to the rooftop garden; once we got there, mom and son began to reminisce on the long hours the family spent at the garden when he was in the hospital. While her son played with the water fountain, the mom expressed how thankful she was to see her son healthy, and able to visit and play… much different than the last time they were there. This made me realize how fragile life can be and how we shouldn’t take the little things for granted.”

Red-Vested Rockstar: Molly Danahy

Molly Danahy, RV RockstarWhy she rocks?! “I am currently a nursing student at St. Kates, graduating this May. I started volunteering because my dream job is to work in pediatric nursing. Spending time with pediatric patients never feels like a job to me.”

What is your favorite thing to do outside of volunteering?  “Outside of volunteering I like to spend time with family. I am also a huge movie buff, and I love going bowling with friends.”

Do you have any pets or kids of your own?  “I don’t have any kids or pets but I have always wanted a dog. Someday!”

If you could create a new candy bar, what would be in it and what would you name it?  “My candy bar would be pure chocolate and lots of it! I guess I would call it a ‘Mollybar’!”

Share a favorite volunteer experience or story “I’ve had so many great volunteer experiences at Children’s it’s hard to choose just one. Being able to play games and chat with the kids makes me feel like I make a difference and that’s what it’s all about. Every kid brings a special experience each volunteer day.”