Inside Gillette Blog

When Giving is a Family Tradition

Posted On: 12/27/2012

How many kids give away all of their birthday presents? Zoe Colombo did just that in December, with delivery help from her mom, Carmen Colombo (left), and grandmother, Corrinne Reed.

Zoe has an unusual outlook when it comes to birthdays. The 8-year-old isn’t interested in getting presents on her special day. Instead, she’s determined to give to others. In December, Zoe donated the gifts and money she received for her birthday to patients at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare.

This isn’t the first time Zoe’s given away her birthday gifts. When she was 5 she asked the grownups in her family for money instead of gifts, which she then donated to the Animal Humane Society in Woodbury, Minn. Last year, she sent her birthday money to an orphanage in Guatemala.

Zoe’s mom, Carmen Colombo, says her daughter has always had a generous, and somewhat practical, spirit. “The first year she could really understand what Christmas was about, I asked her what she wanted,” says Colombo. “She said she wanted a picture of her family to hang in her room. That was all she asked for that year.”

Of course, Zoe’s generosity could be because of her giving family. Colombo and her husband, Brian Colombo, match Zoe’s donations, this year bringing the family’s total gift to $710. And Zoe’s grandmother, Corrinne Reed, is a longtime Gillette supporter through the employee giving campaign at Dairy Queen.

When Dairy Queen randomly selected Reed to represent the company at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Celebration 2012, Reed says, “I knew immediately that I wanted to take Zoe with me.” There Zoe met many of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Champions, kids from around the country who have disabilities, chronic conditions or cancer. “I thought it would be a life-changing experience for her,” says Reed, “and it was.”

Now Zoe’s more determined than ever to help change the lives of others. “I started paying attention and noticed that a lot of people need help,” explains Zoe. “I thought I should help.”

Ordway Elf Brings Holiday Cheer, Reflects on Time at Gillette

Posted On: 12/19/2012

With snow on the ground and holiday jingles in the air, everyone’s in a festive mood here at Gillette this week. So are our friends at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, who today surprised patients with Elf Kits hand-delivered by a real-life Ordway “Elf,” Carol Peterson.

The visit to Gillette was especially meaningful for Peterson, a longtime Ordway usher. She worked at a Nurse Aide at Gillette decades ago, and found the experience to be among the most moving of her life. We asked Peterson to reminisce about her time at Gillette in the early 1960s, when the hospital was located on the shores of St. Paul’s Lake Phalen.

Tell us more about your job:
I worked the 3:00 – 11:00 PM shift. The most rewarding times were drying the children’s little tears, getting them all dressed up for the Friday Night Movie (a favorite tradition!) and tucking them into bed at night, listening to them chatter before they fell asleep.  The sweet stories are flooding my mind this very minute.

Why was working at Gillette such a memorable life experience?
The staff was fantastic – most of the staff nurses were former WWII Army nurses. The nurses were totally dedicated to helping these children.  The children gave back much more love than I ever gave to them, and I loved them all so very much.  I enjoyed caring for the children, tending to their needs, and getting to know their personalities.

What is your favorite memory of Gillette?
I have many favorite memories! One little boy, who had surgery often to fix his webbed fingers and toes, would greet me every day when I came to work. About ten years ago, I saw him at the Minnesota State Fair, working as a stable lad for one of the best horse stables in the area. I was so proud to see him!

What led you to the Ordway?
I began working at The Ordway in 2002 as an usher, and now I also work in ticket services. It’s a super place to work and share live music and dance with people of all ages.

Meet Us Monday: Meet Allison Berg, R.N.

Posted On: 12/16/2012

Q. How long have you worked at Gillette?
A. 11 years

Q. Why did you specialize in pediatrics? 
A. I feel like kids are easy to relate to.  It’s kind of my “comfort zone”.

Q. What drew you to Gillette?
A. The unique population that it serves.  Out of Nursing School, I had no idea that a place like Gillette even existed.  I think it is absolutely amazing.  And it’s right here in St. Paul!



Q. If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?
A. To fly.

Q. What is your favorite musician/band/type of music?
A. Simon and Garfunkel/ Acoustic and Folk music

Q. Do you have a favorite story/memory from Gillette? 
A. Not too long after I started at Gillette, another Nurse and I decided to pair up our two patients, who were similar ages and who’s families were not able to be there.  I was dramatically acting out the words of a story as my friend/co-worker read aloud to our patients.  This little boy, who had been so stoic and so sad, finally started to crack a smile.  It was the best moment!  After that we were all laughing.  That was one of those moments that make me thankful to be able to do what I do.

Q. What do you enjoy most about your job at Gillette?
A. I love seeing patients when they come back to visit after surgery.  When they come back to say “Hi” or give you a hug….. those are the BEST days!  I have kept every card, every note, every picture a patient has ever given me.  Sometimes you can get caught up in the day to day routines that I am sure come with any job.  But, when you have a moment that makes you stop and think and see the bigger picture, you are able to realize what an amazing opportunity you have to be a small part of these special kids’ lives.  I am so blessed and feel so lucky to able to be a Nurse at Gillette.

Sam’s Club Toy Drive a Success!

Posted On: 12/12/2012

During this season of giving, Children’s Miracle Network sponsor Sam’s Club wanted to do something special for Gillette patients.  Employees at 13 stores throughout Minnesota donated more than $6,500 in toys and gift certificates that will bring holiday cheer to hospitalized children. Yesterday, store associates stopped by Gillette to drop off their generous gifts. Thank you, Sam’s Club!

Thank You, KS95 for Kids Sponsors!

Posted On: 12/04/2012

As we gear up for the KS95 for Kids Radiothon this Thursday and Friday, we wanted to take a moment to recognize, and thank, our generous sponsors who have made this year’s event possible.

C.H. Robinson Worldwide

Treasure Island Resort & Casino

Anytime Fitness

Deli Express
Larkin Hoffman
Dairy Queen
Suave Kids

Mall of America
Axa Advisors


Be sure to listen to 94.5 FM, KS95, on Thursday, December 6 and Friday, December 7 for opportunities to have your gift matched by our KS95 for Kids partners.