Inside Gillette Blog

Meet Us Monday, Candice Gangl, Occupational Therapist

Posted On: 06/27/2014

Candace is one of the stars of a new video focused on physical, occupational and speech therapy at Gillette! Click here to watch it now.

1. What is your role at Gillette? Occupational therapist and occupational therapy professional liaison. I currently split my time between our Maple Grove Clinic working with kids and teens and our Lifetime Clinic working with adults with special health care needs.

2. What is your average day like at Gillette? This is a tough one! Every day is different depending on the location I am at. At our Lifetime Clinic, I see many adults and young adults that are working to achieve greater independence in their lives. This can include independent living skills (dressing, cooking or money management), equipment (wheelchair, bed or bath) evaluations, environmental access evaluations, feeding evaluations, and assistive technology evaluations.  At Maple Grove, this includes learning of functional tasks (dressing, bathing, self-feeding), evaluations post-concussion, fine motor development, equipment evaluations, and orthopedic rehabilitation of the upper extremities (shoulder, elbow, wrist, fingers).

3. Do you have a favorite story or memory? I have so many great memories here! I would say the most rewarding memories are when a patient reaches their goals that they have set and leaves more independent than when they came.  I also really love the great people I work with.  One fun memory that comes to mind is from Halloween when we all dressed up as the game “Words With Friends” and spelled out “I love Gillette!”

4. What are some of your hobbies outside of work? I love to play sports and be active.  I play many co-ed recreational sports throughout the year including: softball, kickball, soccer, and broomball.  I also enjoy being outside around the lakes either near my apartment in Minneapolis or at my family’s lake home up north. 

5. What is one fun fact about you? I grew up playing goalkeeper for soccer throughout college.  This allowed me many unique opportunities such as going to Denmark for a soccer tournament when I was 16. I think my time on a team, and handling the pressure of soccer balls flying at me throughout the game, has helped prepare me to be flexible and ready for anything here at Gillette.

Top Summer Injury Offenders (…And How to Prevent Them)

Posted On: 06/26/2014

Stay safe this summer!Summer and kids mean fun, sun and LOTS of activities!  It’s also prime time for injuries—just ask any of our pediatric orthopedic surgeons.  But there’s good news, too: many of these injuries are preventable.


A hallmark of summer, lawnmowers and kids don’t go hand-in-hand. Besides the risk of damage from flying rocks at high speeds, lawnmowers can cause permanent orthopedic deformities in children who fall from, or are struck accidentally by, the blade.

Safety takeaway:  Keep young children inside while mowing. Children should be at least 12 years old before operating any lawn mower and at least 16 before operating a riding mower. 


Monkey Bars/Jungle Gyms/Playscapes

Approximately 200,000 children are treated annually for injuries sustained at a playground, and over half of those injuries are fractures or broken bones.

Safety takeaway: Set and talk about safety ‘ground rules’ with children before and during play, and remind children to use play equipment properly.  



Trampolines are an especially common culprit of summertime injuries. Between 2000 and 2005, there were nearly 90,000 children injured while playing on home trampolines. In addition to broken bones, fractures and sprains, some kids sustained serious head and spinal trauma.

Safety takeaway:  If trampoline use is unavoidable, install safety netting around the trampoline and cover its frame, springs and nearby landing surfaces with shock-absorbing pads. Trampolines should be assessed often for tears or equipment malfunctions. Don’t allow unsupervised jumping, and only allow one person on the trampoline at all times.


Skateboards and Ripsticks (modified skateboards)

Skateboards and ripsticks account for approximately 50,000 trips to Emergency Departments per year and 1,500 hospitalizations.

Safety takeaway:  Children under 5 should not use a skateboard or ripstick, and children 6 to 10 should be closely supervised.  All children should wear protective equipment (helmet and knee, elbow and shoulder padding) and avoid areas with heavy traffic.


Even when play is carefully supervised, accidents can still happen. Gillette’s Acute Orthopedic Clinic provides same-day appointments and 24-hour consultations with a pediatric orthopedist to give primary and urgent/emergency providers instant access to our specialists. If your child sustains an injury, encourage your doctor to call 651-325-2200 for an immediate referral to Gillette. 



Minnesota Monthly highlights Come Fly With Me gala

Posted On: 06/25/2014

KARE-TV Captures Camp Get-A-Well-A at Gillette

Posted On: 06/24/2014

Camp-Get-A-Well-A is a much-loved tradition here at Gillette — and this week’s camp, with a “Superheroes” theme, is no exception!  The camp, which happens daily from June 23-27, brings the joys and activities of summer camp to hospitalized children.

The week’s first activity for patient campers and their families was decorating a Superhero cape to wear during Superhero Movie Night later in the week. More than 120 capes were created with the help of volunteers from REMAX and KFAN during the Monday morning activity, held in Gillette’s lobby. And a special guest, KARE-TV, was on hand to capture the fun.

KARE-TV’s news segment ran Monday, June 23 during the 6:00 p.m. newscast. Anchors Julie Nelson, Randy Shaver and meteorologist Belinda Jensen had positive things to say about Gillette before and after the segment aired: “When you can’t go to summer camp, summer camp comes to you. It doesn’t get any better than this. I had a chance to tour the facility. It was bright; the staff there has all of this positive energy. Good for them.”  


Click here for a photo album of this week's camp experience. Many thanks to KARE-TV for stopping by, and to our generous sponsors Deli Express and Quality Resource Group, for making these great activities possible!

Meet Us Monday – Kara Souther, Director of the Ronald McDonald Family Room

Posted On: 06/20/2014

Next month marks the Ronald McDonald Family Room’s third anniversary! Stay tuned for a special guest blog post from Kara to celebrate.

1. What is your role at Gillete? I am the director of the Ronald McDonald Family Room, which we opened on July 1, 2011 at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare’s St. Paul campus. I have been working with families and the Twin Cities medical community at the Ronald McDonald House Charities-Upper Midwest since 2008.

2. Do you have a favorite story or memory? Holidays are always an extra special time in the Ronald McDonald Family Room because families use our space as a home away from home to celebrate in their own unique way.  Plus it’s an added bonus someone is always baking cookies!

3. What are some of your hobbies outside of work? Spending time with my husband, traveling, biking around Lake Harriet, going to concerts, and volunteering for the YMCA and Special Olympics.

4. Do you have any children or pets?  We have two cats named Milo and Bjorn. Our first child is on the way—due December 17!

5. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? We love travelling and have been to 16 countries; however, I have not been to Spain, so that’s at the top of my list.

6. What is one fun fact about you? I almost became David Letterman’s nanny in 2007. I interviewed twice and even had lunch with him in his house!


Are you interested in becoming a Ronald McDonald Family Room volunteer? Click here to learn more!

Michael Ruud to Represent Gillette, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals as Champion

Posted On: 06/18/2014

Last week brought a whirlwind of activity for 9-year-old Michael Ruud and his parents, Mike and Paty.  The Duluth, Minn. family spent the beginning of the week at Gillette’s St. Paul clinic for check-ups with his team of physicians.  During their stay in the Twin Cities, they also greeted supporters of Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare — from employees of local Sam’s Club stores to Miss Minnesota contestants — who raise funds for the hospital through its affiliation with Children’s Miracle Network. 

The week continued with more fun on Thursday, when a crowd of more than 60 people gathered at the Residence Inn Marriott in Duluth to mark the official start of Michael’s role as our Children’s Miracle Network Champion.  He’ll represent Gillette, and the state of Minnesota, by sharing his story with Children’s Miracle Network fundraising partners throughout the year.  Then, this fall, Michael and Champions representing our other U.S. states will travel to Walt Disney World and Washington, D.C. to raise awareness of the important work being done by Children’s Miracle Network hospitals nationwide.

Individuals who joined in Thursday’s celebration included Duluth Mayor Don Ness (pictured with Michael) and representatives from Marriott International and Delta Air Lines, both sponsors of the 2014 Children’s Miracle Network Champions program (third sponsor Chico’s FAS was not present), and representatives from other Duluth-area Children’s Miracle Network partners, including Dairy Queen, Walmart, ACE Hardware and Credit Unions for Kids. Michael’s teachers, classmates, therapists, grandparents, family friends and Gillette’s Duluth Clinic staff came out to show their support, as well.  The celebration got a big ‘thumbs up’ from Michael (pictured with Delta Air Lines pilot Darrel Baker and Marriott general manager Erin Maruska).

Stay tuned in the coming weeks and months for more on Michael’s experiences as the Gillette and Minnesota Champion child — including a special video telling the story of his family’s journey through his treatment at Gillette for a complex condition called Apert syndrome.

Meet Us Monday – Jennifer Ostergaard, Clinical Psychologist and Neuropsychology Fellow

Posted On: 06/13/2014

Fun Fact: Ostergaard was crowned Miss Minnesota in 1997.

1. Do you have a favorite Gillette story or memory?  In addition to therapy, I regularly see children for psychological testing evaluations.  I have a talking hippo in my office, which was a distraction to one of my patients that I was attempting to complete testing with.  I pretended to have the hippo whisper to me, nodded in agreement with the hippo, and set it aside informing the child that Mr. Hippo said that he wanted him to complete his testing, and would wait for him on my shelf to talk to him later.  The child walked over to me, motioned for me to bend down to come closer to him, put his hand to my ear and very earnestly whispered, “Can you teach me how to talk hippo?”  Of course, cherished moments are every time I hear from a parent, “Thank you, that was very helpful,” and get bear hugged around the knees by a child.

2. What are some of your hobbies outside of work? Running and hiking.  I also love to travel, especially to the National Parks.  I have been to 22 out of 52 and am planning to add 23 and 24 at the end of the summer.  Yosemite, Zion, Yellowstone, and Glacier are my favorite parks, so far. If you want to see the glaciers of Glacier National Park, you better go soon.  All of the glaciers are projected to melt in less than 10 years.  It’s beautiful and I would highly recommend it!

3. Do you have any children or pets?  I have a Pomeranian named Daisy.  She is very cute!

4. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? I would head to Peru to hike the Inca Trail or explore the Galapagos Islands.

5. What is one fun fact about you? I am many nationalities: Polish, Danish, English, German, French, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh. 

Did you know? The Miss America Organization partners with Children's Miracle Network Hospitals to raise funds and awareness for children's hospitals throughout the United States, including Gillette Children’s in Minnesota. Contestants competing in Miss America-sponsored competitions raise donations through appearances and fundraisers that benefit Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and the Miss America Scholarship Fund. In addition, each new Miss America becomes the goodwill ambassador for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, speaking on behalf of kids treated at children's hospitals and raising awareness around the country.

The Ketogenic Diet- Summer Snack Ideas

Posted On: 06/09/2014

By Karri Larson, Registered Pediatric Dietitian


The ketogenic diet is a high fat, low carbohydrate diet that is used as a treatment for difficult to control seizures, or intractable epilepsy. It is a highly specialized diet that should be followed under the direct supervision of a dietitian and physician. We are still trying to understand why and how the ketogenic diet helps to reduce seizures.


The summer season often brings a feeling of wanting to cook lighter foods.  Fresh produce is bountiful and frozen treats are extra special when the temps are high. Take that into consideration when planning ketogenic diet snacks.


One requirement of the ketogenic diet is weighing out all food on a gram scale. This takes some of the simplicity and spontaneity out of cooking for families.  However, it doesn’t have to mean you can’t have any fun with your food. Below you will find 3 recipes for keto-friendly snacks that are perfect for the summer.  Even better, they are snacks that your whole family can enjoy.



Here is some guacamole topped with fresh-from-the-vine tomatoes.  Just fork mash some avocado and chop up a tomato and mix with a sprinkle of garlic salt. You can use carrots and celery as dippers.




Berries and cream

Berries are among the lowest carbohydrate fruits available. Try pairing fresh berries with whipped heavy whipping. You can add a drop or two of some natural food coloring (available at your local co-op or specialty food store) to make some fun colors for variety or put it in a glass to make a fruit parfait.











Another fun snack is to make your own popsicle or creamsicle. Inexpensive popsicle makers are easy to find at your local grocery store and are so versatile. Here we prepared some sugar free jello and mixed the liquid jello with some heavy whipping cream. Pour it into the popsicle mold and freeze.


All recipes are ~200 calories, 3:1 ratio. Please contact your dietitian for a personalized recipe for your child.


Meet Us Monday – Becky Wright, Graphic Designer

Posted On: 06/06/2014

Becky Wright, Graphic Designer1. What is your position and role at Gillette? What does your day-to-day look like?  I have been a Graphic Designer in the communications department for three years. My days are busy and diverse! They are usually spent creating graphics and print materials for internal and external communications. That includes ads, logos, brochures, annual reports, and event graphics. I sometimes help direct photo shoots, which gives me an opportunity to meet some of the kids and families that we serve. Since my job doesn't involve direct care, this allows me to learn more about their conditions and what we do for them.

2. What are some of your hobbies outside of work? Outside of work I enjoy being outdoors—I love to kayak, ride my scooter and garden. I also enjoy music—playing guitar, harmonica and drums.

3. Do you have any children or pets?  I don't have kids, but I've always had a cat or two. My 18-year-old cat Anna just passed away, so I'll soon be hunting for a couple of littermates.

4. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go? Anywhere warm with water. Costa Rica is on my bucket list, along with Australia and Hawaii.

5. What is one fun fact about you? When I was in college I spent a semester at the University of Copenhagen and lived with a Danish family. It gave me an opportunity to travel to just about every European country. After I graduated from college I went back to visit them, followed by backpacking around Norway and Sweden. I met a Norwegian family and spent part of the summer painting their houses in exchange for room and board. Those were some of the best experiences of my life!

My Gillette Story by Whitney Feidt, Brynn’s Mom

Posted On: 06/05/2014

On August 23, 2013, the first glimpse of our daughter Brynn brought tears of love and worry. To our complete surprise, Brynn was born with a unilateral complete cleft lip and palate. As we held our sweet girl, our hearts overflowed with emotions. We were finally had the baby we had dreamed of—but we questioned what life was going to be like for her.  

Sitting in the hospital room with Brynn wasn’t what I had thought it would be like or what I had planned on. I didn’t want visitors, I didn’t know what to tell people when they asked, and I didn’t want to share the first photos of my baby girl. To us she was beautiful and perfect. But the thought of what others would think consumed me with worry and anxiety.

The first week at home was very challenging as we battled feeding issues. At ten days old, Brynn had her first appointment with a wonderful team of doctors at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. The day was filled with countless appointments. It was a long, emotional day and we were overload with information but we were willing to do whatever it took. In the end, all of our questions and worries were put to ease.

We spent countless hours at Gillette with Brynn during her first six months preparing her for surgery. We went to our weekly orthodontic appointments with Cheryl Anderson-Cermin, D.D.S to address a number of issues. This included being fitted for the Gillette OrthoCleft® retainer, a presurgical device that results in improved outcomes when worn in the months before surgery.  We also saw a feeding nurse, an audiologist, and an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist.  In December, 2013, pediatric craniofacial surgeon Robert Wood, M.D. performed Brynn’s lip repair surgery and did an incredible job. I knew then that all the time, stress and appointments were worth every second.

Although Brynn’s journey was overwhelming at times, it led us to a beautiful destination. We created Brynn’s Smile Box Foundation in the hopes that we can help other families whose babies are born with a cleft lip or palate. Brynn’s Smile Box gives families a convenient box to hold all the supplies needed while their child is using an OrthoCleft retainer, along with a flashlight, scissors, toothbrush and a gift card to Gingko Café, which is located right inside Gillette. We can’t wait to see what the future has in store for Brynn’s Smile Box!