Inside Gillette Blog

Tyler’s Story

Posted On: 06/26/2012

When Tyler Schell, then 2 years old, fell off of his trike and broke his arm, his parents, Chris and Alison Schell, found it unusual. “It wasn’t a major fall, so I was surprised by the break,” says Chris.  Then, just one year later, Tyler broke both of his arms within a week. “At that point we knew something was very wrong,” Chris explains.

Tyler was referred to Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare and Dr. Ann Van Heest, a physician who specializes in upper extremities. The family also began genetic testing, with startling results: Tyler had osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), a rare bone disorder that occurs in less than 0.01% of the population. In fact, Chris says that only 150 people in the family’s native Australia have the condition.

Today, Tyler sees 10 different physicians at Gillette, depending on the area of his body that needs care. He also receives experimental treatments that have helped reduce his fracture rate. In addition to his Gillette team, Tyler sees one of the world’s top OI specialists in Sydney, Australia.

Although Tyler has broken more than 20 bones in his young life, he remains a happy, charming and outgoing little boy. “Tyler can win people over in a very positive way,” says Chris with a smile.

The Schells acknowledge the helplessness and unpredictability that come with Tyler’s condition. “Whether tripping on the rug or falling on the playground — we never know when the next break will be,” Chris says. But they’ve made sure he has the opportunity to be like any other kid. “Tyler knows he’s a kid who has OI — not the other way around.”

Meet Cassandra Bjork, Clinical Dietician at Gillette!

Posted On: 06/24/2012

Today, meet Cassandra Bjork, R.D., L.D., a Clinical Dietician at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. You may recognize Cassie from her “Fast Food and Healthy Eating” video that provided healthy on-the-go eating tips. In case you missed it,  watch and ‘share’ the video link below. If you have any additional questions for Cassie please comment below!

Cassandra Bjork

Watch: Fast Food and Healthy Eating

Q. What are some of your hobbies outside work?

A. Anything active and/or adventurous! I like to rollerblade, paddleboard, run marathons (just did Grandma’s Marathon on June 17th!) and tried skydiving last month (and succeeded!) Any kids or pets? Not at the moment, but hopefully both someday J

Q As a child, which superhero did you admire?

A. I always admired Ariel from The Little Mermaid for paving her own route and always being true to herself, even if it meant going against the choices others wanted her to make.

Q. Do you have  favorite food?

A. My favorite food is peanut butter. I always keep peanut butter packets in my purse and a jar in my trunk for emergency snacks.

Q. If you could travel anywhere where would you go?

A. I would go back to Switzerland, and spend some quality time hiking through the mountains. I spent the month of October 2011 backpacking through Europe, and of the 4 countries I trekked across, Switzerland was my favorite.

Q. What was your favorite subject in school?

A. I loved math and writing.

Q. Do you have a favorite musician/band/type of music?

A. Christian music is my favorite because it is so uplifting and always brings hope and positivity to my day.

Q. Who did you admire when you were a kid?

A. I admired Mother Teresa for her generosity and Jesus for his sacrifice.

Q. Do you have a favorite story/memory from Gillette?

A. My favorite memories are all moments when it seemed as if a light-switch went off in the head of the person I was teaching a nutrition concept to. I love when it makes sense and becomes something personal and achievable!

Q. What do you enjoy most about your job at Gillette?

A. I love showing people how making small changes can give big results! Whether it’s adding in some healthy fats at meals, incorporating a bit of exercise or making sure to always have healthy snacks on hand, these small things can have a big impact on every day life!

Little Miss and Little Mr. Dairy Queen

Posted On: 06/19/2012

Check out this cute photo of the annual Little Miss & Little Mr. Dairy Queen event that happens in Paynesville, Minnesota!

Meet Us Monday – Meet Lexi

Posted On: 06/10/2012

Lexi is a bright and bubbly 7-year-old who loves to paint, color and play games on the computer.  But there is one major difference between Lexi and other children: she does these things, and much more, using her feet. Lexi is part of our CurePity campaign. Why pledge to CurePity? Because, children who have disabilities don’t need pity. They need hope. They need expert medical care. And they need a world that gives them a chance. In short, they need people like you. Watch Lexi’s CurePity commercial, sign the pledge, and read more about Lexi’s story below.


Dream Night at The Minnesota Zoo

Posted On: 06/10/2012

Dream Night is a private event that invites children with special healthcare needs and disabilities along with their immediate families to spend a cost free evening at The Minnesota Zoo. Thank you to everyone that attended and posted their photo on our Facebook Wall. We wanted to pass on a photo collage of the photos that we received.

Dream Night 201

Best Children’s Hospitals 2012-13: The Honor Roll

Posted On: 06/05/2012

Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare is now ranked 12th in the nation for pediatric orthopedics and 39th in the nation for pediatric neurology/neurosurgery  in U.S. News Media Group’s 2012-2013 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings. Last year, Gillette ranked 25th and 44th in the two areas.

Gillette occupies the largest market share among Twin Cities hospitals for pediatric orthopedics, and has one of the highest concentrations of pediatric orthopedic surgeons in the nation. Its Center for Pediatric Orthopedics is the largest such program in the five-state region. In addition, each year Gillette neurosurgeons perform more surgeries for children whose spasticity (muscle tightness) impacts their movement than any other hospital in the five-state region.

“There are many reasons we moved higher on this prestigious list, including our low incidence of surgical site infections—especially given the high volume of surgeries performed here,” said Gillette President and CEO Margaret Perryman. “U.S. News has increasingly focused on patient safety initiatives as a key component in its ranking methodology.”

The Best Children’s Hospitals rankings recognize the top 50 children’s hospitals in 10 specialties: cancer; cardiology and heart surgery; diabetes and endocrinology; gastroenterology; neonatology; nephrology; neurology and neurosurgery; orthopedics; pulmonology; and urology. Seventy-six hospitals are ranked in at least one specialty. This is the fourth consecutive year Gillette has been ranked in orthopedics, and the second it has ranked in neurology/neurosurgery.

This year, U.S. News surveyed 178 pediatric centers to obtain hard data such as availability of key resources and ability to prevent complications and infections. The hospital survey made up 75 percent of the rankings. A separate reputational survey in which 1,500 pediatric specialists—150 in each specialty—were asked where they would send the sickest children in their specialty made up the remaining 25 percent.

The full rankings and methodology will be available June 5, 2012, at The rankings will also be published in the U.S. News Best Hospitals 2013 guidebook, which will be available in August.


Meet Jessica Miller, Child Life Specialist at Gillette!

Posted On: 06/03/2012

Gillette’s child life specialists help children cope with hospitalization and painful medical procedures. Through therapeutic play and child-appropriate hospital tours, we help children and families cope with fears or concerns about hospitalization. If a child is hospitalized, we offer activities that reduce stress, increase socialization and promote growth and development. Medical play sessions for hospitalized children and their siblings help to increase their awareness of the medical environment and medical procedures.

Meet Jessica Miller, Child Life Specialist at Gillette

Today, meet Jessica Miller, Child Life Specialist and Certified Brain Injury Specialist at Gillette!

Q. What are some of your hobbies outside of work?
A.  I love to spend time with my husband, garden, read, and run with my dogs.

Q. Do you have any children or pets?
A. I don’t have any kids, yet, but we do have 2 dogs. Luna is a 7 year old goldendoodle and Cooper is a 1 year cockapoo. They are very loved and very spoiled! :)

Q. Do you have a favorite superhero? If you could have any superpower what would it be?
A. I wasn’t really into superheroes when I was little, but if I could choose a super power now I would love to be able to fly.

Q. What is your favorite book?
A. My favorite books of all time are the Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mystery series. I absolutely loved them when I was little!

Q. What is your favorite food?
A. I like all types of food, but my current favorite is the Patty Cake from the restaurant YUM! by lake Calhoun (chocolate cake with butter cream frosting – it is the BEST!)

Q. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
A. My favorite place in the world is Itasca State Park in MN, so I would love to travel there. My family vacationed there a lot when I was little and my husband proposed to me inside the park at the headwaters of the Mississippi River, so that park is very special to me.

Q. What was your favorite subject in school?
A. I loved all of my psychology classes in college.

Q. What is your favorite type of music?
A. I really enjoy all types of music. Some of my favorite bands are Madonna, the Beatles, Keith Urban, and Tim McGraw.

Q. Who did you admire when you were younger?
A. I really admired my oldest sister when I was a little kid. She is 15 years older than me and right after college, when I was only 6, she moved to work in Chicago. Her life in the big city always seemed so cool! And, whenever she came home to visit she always took the time to play with me, which really meant a lot.

Q. Do you have a favorite memory from Gillette?
A. I have so many favorite memories from Gillette!  One of my favorites was when a patient of mine had to have an IV placed. She was so nervous, but after receiving preparation for the procedure and developing a coping strategy she did so well! She said that it wasn’t as scary as she had thought – I was so proud of her! Our kids at Gillette are so brave :)

Q. What is your favorite thing about working at Gillette?
A. I love being able to interact with our patients and their families. They are so resilient and inspiring!