Inside Gillette Blog

Meet Us Monday - Meet Mary Schopfer, Senior Interface/Integration Developer

Posted On: 09/30/2013

1. What is your position at Gillette?  I am a Senior Interface/Integration Developer in Information Systems.  I am part of the team that builds and maintains Gillette’s interfaces which send data between different applications and organizations.  

2. What are some of your hobbies outside of work?  I enjoy reading, family, gardening, making bad puns, rock hunting, and exploring new places.

3. Do you have any children or pets? Yes, two grown sons and two over grown shih tzus.

4. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?  My next trip is to Singapore, then Ireland and New Zealand are on the top of my list.   

5. What is one fun fact about you? I was at the Arc de Triomphe to watch the riders finish the 100th Tour de France in July.  

Kid of the Day - Rayf’s Story

Posted On: 09/26/2013

I am certain you want a short snippet of why our son is great. Well, I just don’t know how to condense why he is so great into a short sentence. So, I am going to take a chance on faith and my heart and tell you as quickly as I can.

I want people to know what our son Rayf, almost 3, has gone through to be this great. I also want to raise awareness about child neglect and the importance of good foster parents.

Rayf was born at 24 weeks with two grade four brain bleeds, which left him with left sided paralysis and weakness. The bleeding also caused severe cerebral palsy and cortical visual impairment.

Rayf came to us at 10 months old weighing roughly 8 pounds. He had been neglected so badly that his hair and nails had quit growing, which caused his major organs to shut down. He was covered in scabs from scabies tunneling all over his body, and his body and skull were malformed from lying in the same position for so long. He was so weak that he lost his sucking reflex, which made his feedings take two hours. Rayf does not sit, crawl or walk unaided, yet. He babbles but cannot speak.

Fast forward to today and you will find a handsome, happy, blue-eyed boy smiling at you. He is love. He does not know hate. He holds no grudges. He is capable of learning. He has done so many things people said he would never do. He has the most infectious laugh. He amazes us every day. If you spend any amount of time with him and leave unhappy, there is something dreadfully wrong with you. 

I am not saying this journey is going to be easy. We have four children: two biological boys, ages 9 and 8, and God blessed us with Rayf’s baby sister, who just turned 2. We officially adopted them this past spring. We are still saving for a handicapped van, ramp and bathroom for Rayf, but we make the best of it because he is so worth it. I know he was meant to be there. Rayf is our Kid of the Day!

Meet Us Monday - Meet Lisa Rounds, Occupational Therapist

Posted On: 09/23/2013

1. What is your position and role at Gillette? I am a Occupational Therapist in the Inpatient Rehabilitation Program.

2. What are some of your hobbies outside of work? Gardening, fishing,  skiing, hiking, and a variety of craft projects
3. Do you have any children or pets? I have 2 step children 18 (Lexis), and 14 years old (Nolan) and 3 dogs (Leo, Gus and Moe)
4. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? I have many places on my bucket list for travel, Iceland, Ireland, New Zealand to name a few
5. What is one fun fact about you? I used to be a ski instructor in Colorado

I Fit, You Fit, We Fit Together…Advances in Gillette Rehabilitation Therapies

Posted On: 09/17/2013

By Kristin Ries, OTR

Step inside the Gillette rehabilitation therapies gym and you may notice the inclusion of some new technology helping kids to use their muscles to better be able to do the things that kids do best. One of the newest pieces of equipment in the rehab gym is called the ArmeoSpring.

The ArmeoSpring is used as part of a program for Upper Extremity Functional and Intensive Therapy (UFIT), which also includes therapy activities such as constraint induced movement therapy. These types of therapy activities help kids to strengthen their arm muscles in order to improve their ability to use both arms together for everyday kid activities.











The ArmeoSpring is a computer enhanced therapy activity, which uses a gravity-assisted exoskeleton to support a child’s arm as they move and interact with virtual reality activities on a computer screen. The exoskeleton measures the child’s arm movement and grasp as they are motivated to move and have fun with the interactive games.

Kids with weakness in one or both arms caused by a variety of diagnoses are appropriate to participate in UFIT, including using the ArmeoSpring as part of their therapy program. The occupational therapist working with a child using the ArmeoSpring will be interested to hear what kinds of activities he or she would like to be able to better participate in as they begin the therapy program. Our goal together will be to improve a child's ability to participate in everyday activities...including all things kids do best!

Contact an occupational therapist in the Gillette therapy department at 651-229-3900 to learn more information about UFIT or the ArmeoSpring technology.

Meet Us Monday - Meet Paula Braaten, Physical Therapist Assistant

Posted On: 09/16/2013

1. What is your position and role at Gillette? I am a Physical Therapist Assistant in the Rehabilitation Therapies Department.  I have been here for 15 years and practicing Physical Therapy for 18 years.  I am also the facilitator for the Spinal Cord Injury Team here at Gillette.  Do you have a favorite story or memory?  I was working with a patient who was a teenager.  He was getting frustrated with some of the activities he had to do and he would swear in the gym.  I told him that I understood that it was hard and frustrating but he couldn’t swear because there were little kids around.  We came up with a code word that sounded a bit better.  “Suga” became our therapy swear word for the rest of his stay in the hospital.  To this day I still see him and he and I use that same term for things that are difficult. 

2. What are some of your hobbies outside of work? I like to do a variety of things from camping to baking to listening to country music.   I love to play volleyball.  I love photography and I then do Scrapbooking with all the pictures that I take.  I love to travel so coaching and being the manager aka. “do everything girl” for the MN Northstars Quad Rugby team has allowed me to travel many places and take lots of photos. 

3. Do you have any children or pets? I have a Lowchen.  What is that do you ask?  It is a small breed of dog that you may have seen in a Dog show that looks like a little lion.   I don’t care for the professional cut so my “Bear” is all the same length of hair on her body and the hair on her legs and face is a little longer.  She looks like a teddy bear so that is how she got her name. 

4. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? Australia is my dream vacation spot.

5. What is one fun fact about you? I have a very large family and most of us are very close!  My mom is 1 of 8 so growing up our holiday gatherings were easily 40-50 people.  Today, my immediate family is at 25 and counting.  We all live in either MN or WI too!

My Gillette Story by Kristy Tanquist

Posted On: 09/13/2013

I would describe Mitchell as a 10 year old boy who just wants to have fun! He loves to play Wii, DS, Xbox, board games, and reading.  He enjoys adaptive snowboarding in the winter and riding his bike in the summer.

Mitchell has spina bifida and hydrocephalus. The way we found out about Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare was from a friend of ours who also has a boy with spina bifida. From our experiences at Gillette, we have found that it has been a wonderful place for Mitchell to get his treatments.  He has had physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, psychology treatments, rehabilitation, urology, neurology and other orthopedic services, all at Gillette. When he’s there, his favorite therapists are Amanda and Stephanie and he really likes all of his doctors.  They treat him like he is their only patient. From the minute we check in at the front desk until we leave, we are treated with respect and always feel welcomed at Gillette.
We are so proud of Mitchell because he accepts who he is.  He has been through so much and does not complain.  He is a very smart boy who is full of love and life.  He is so much more than we ever expected and he has touched so many peoples' lives!

Read more about Mitchell on

Teens and Sleep: How Sleep Affects Learning, Emotions, and Risky Behavior

Posted On: 09/13/2013

Did you know? Teens with fewer than six hours of sleep per night are:

  •     Two-three times more likely to experience depression and suicidal thoughts.
  •     Driving with reaction times equivalent to having a blood alcohol content of .05.
  •     Significantly more likely to use drugs, alcohol, caffeine, and engage in other at-risk behavior.

How do the current findings of nationally recognized researchers on teens and sleep translate to better school performance, improved physical and mental health, and reduced risky choices among teens? Learn more at the Teens and Sleep: How Sleep Affects Learning, Emotions, and Risky Behavior conference. This conference is for: Pediatric Providers, School District Leaders, Educators, Social Service Providers, School Counselors, School Psychologists, Legislators, Policy-Makers, and Parents.

Thursday, Oct 3, 2013 - 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Friday, Oct 4, 2013 - 8:30 AM - 3:00 PM
Double Tree By Hilton
1500 Park Place Blvd
Minneapolis, MN 55416

Learn more:

LOLTC Featured in Twin Cities Business

Posted On: 09/11/2013

Laugh Out Loud Twin Cities, an upcoming comedy event benefiting Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, was featured in the “Plugged In” section of Twin Cities Business’ September issue.  The event is slated for Saturday, Sept. 28, and will feature comedian Howie Mandel. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.



Mpls. St. Paul Magazine Honors Gillette Nurse

Posted On: 09/11/2013

The August issue of Mpls. St. Paul Magazine recognized 13 Twin Cities nurses as part of their Outstanding Nurse Awards. Among the honorees included Jenny Bucka, a nurse on Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.  Read more about Jenny, including why she calls herself a “lifer” at Gillette, and how our patients inspire her.


Meet Us Monday - Meet Laura Speltz, M.D.

Posted On: 09/09/2013

1. What is your position and role at Gillette? I am a pediatric neurologist at Gillette with a particular interest in epilepsy. I will be working several areas including the inpatient unites, the outpatient clinics, and performing intraoperative monitoring in the ORs.

2. What are some of your hobbies outside of work? Outside of work I like to spend time with my family, travel, exercise, and read for fun.
3. Do you have any children or pets? I have a daughter who was born in May 2013. We also have a new puppy named Roxie; we just adopted her from the Humane Society this week.
4. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? If I could travel anywhere I would like to follow the Inca Trail to the top of Machu Picchu in Peru. That is my next travel goal.
5. What is one fun fact about you? One fun fact about me is that I speak Spanish well, but I definitely get excited at any opportunity to practice or improve my vocabulary


Laura Speltz, M.D., is a pediatric neurologist who focuses on caring for children who have epilepsy or other neurological disorders.

After graduating from the University of Minnesota Medical School, she completed her training in pediatrics and pediatric neurology at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Ill. She has had international experience in Spanish-speaking countries and worked in the pediatric neurology departments of several hospitals. She is a member of the American Academy of Neurology, and she is in the process of obtaining board certification in pediatric neurology.

She provides care at the St. Paul (Main Campus) and Burnsville Clinics.

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