Inside Gillette Blog

Game On: Why I Participate in Extra Life

Posted On: 10/14/2014

Editor’s Note: Extra Life’s National Gaming Day is a 24 hour fundraiser benefiting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals including Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare.  Last year 528 gamers  raised $78,825. This year we hope 1,000 gamers will raise $150,000. This year’s event will be held on Saturday, October 25. To learn more click here.

By: Zachary Pligge (Pictured far left)

I first heard about Extra Life back in 2011 through volunteering at a children’s hospital. I instantly fell in love with the idea. I’ve been playing video games since I could hold a controller, and I’ve been volunteering with kids since the end of high school. It was the perfect opportunity to get involved. Who wouldn’t enjoy combing two activities they love into one big charity event! My excitement for Extra Life grew even more after I became involved with Game Informer, an online gaming community.  Each year they form a team to play on behalf of Gillette, and soon I was spearheading that team.

I’ve set two big goals for this year’s Extra Life event. First, I put my own personal fundraising goal at $10,000 and Game Informer’s team at $25,000. Last year I raised $2,000 and Game Informer raised $16,000! It might seem like I’m shooting for the moon but last year I completely surpassed my initial fundraising goals.

Second, and the more important of the two, is trying to get more people involved with Extra Life. I started promoting this year’s event back in early spring. I used the Game Informer community, as well as a few other networks to start getting people signed up and excited for 2014’s event. The earlier people sign up, the more time they have to raise money and influence people in their networks to get involved.

As Extra Life day approaches, I urge everyone to sign up for the event –it’s just so fun and easy! All you do is head over to Extra Life’s homepage, register for the event, and start raising money. After that, get ready to play video games with your family and friends on October 25! All money raised goes directly to to Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. So sign up, raise money, and have a blast playing video games on October 25th!

Montevideo American News Story on RE/MAX Fundraiser

Posted On: 07/01/2013

RE/MAX Fundraiser Benefits Gillette through Children’s Miracle Network

Posted On: 06/27/2013

Last Thursday, Montevideo, Minn. residents enjoyed gorgeous weather (and supported a great cause!) at a lunchtime picnic hosted by Montevideo-based RE/MAX Neighbors. The event raised funds for Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, Minnesota’s only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.

In the weeks leading up to the event, local radio station KDMA – along with sister stations KMGM and KKRC – aired an interview highlighting RE/MAX’s longtime fundraising efforts on behalf of Gillette and Children’s Miracle Network.  Listen to it here:  KDMA Interview with Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare.

A Gillette patient family from the Montevideo area shared their story as part of the fundraiser.

Crowns and Cookies – Miss Minnesota Candidates Visit Gillette!

Posted On: 06/16/2013

Last Monday was a dreary day in St. Paul, but inside Gillette Children’s Specialty Heathcare, the atmosphere was anything but. The sound of clicking heels, the sparkle of crowns, and the mesmerizing look on our patients’ faces meant one thing: the 2013 Miss Minnesota candidates were at Gillette for their annual visit.

Among the visitors were 22 Miss Minnesota contestants vying for the 2013 crown, along with the current Miss Minnesota, Siri Freeh, Miss Minnesota’s Outstanding Teen, Corrina Swiggum, and Miss America’s Outstanding Teen, Rachel Wyatt. The women came to Gillette as part of their partnership with Children Miracle Network Hospitals. They spent the afternoon decorating cookies and taking tours to learn all about what Gillette has to offer.

As the contestants toured different parts of the hospital, murmurs of children could be heard saying “Look mommy, queens!” or “princesses!” Each woman was eager to chat, take a photo, or sign an autograph for everyone they met. They took the time to listen and learn from each patient and family they spoke with, and always showed kindness and compassion. After a countless number of hugs, photos, and smiles, the contestants proved to be just a little sweeter that day than the cookies they were decorating.

In Duluth, Minn., Karate Helps Kids at Gillette

Posted On: 05/20/2013

From golf tournaments to bowl-a-thons and even kids’ triathlons, our Children’s Miracle Network team at Gillette can turn most any sporting event into a fundraiser for our patients and families. The tournament, held at the Mattevi Martial Arts Academy in Duluth, Minn., was no exception. This year the tournament featured twelve teams of 83 competitors ranging in age from 5 to 60, and hailing from Minnesota, Wisconsin and even Michigan. All proceeds raised from the event benefited Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare through Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Kevin Murphy, M.D., director of Gillette’s Duluth Clinic (and student at Mattevi Martial Arts) helped judge the competition, which raised more than $3,900 this year.

For the first time ever, the tournament—now in it’s ninth year—included adaptive martial arts for children and adults with disabilities. It also featured grand championship adult and junior Black Belt forms, adult Black Belt sparring, children colored belt forms, team/musical/creative forms, weapon and team weapon forms and open sparring. Duluth television station WDIO-TV captured the day’s activities on film.

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.”

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!

Save the Date!  KS95 for Kids Returns December 6-7

Posted On: 11/04/2012

We’re excited to welcome back the KS95 for Kids Radiothon to the airways on Thursday, December 6 and Friday, December 7!  Our 14th annual radiothon will broadcast live on 94.5 FM (and from Mall of America) with KS95′s Ryan and Shannon sharing incredible stories of local children who are triumphing over complex disabilities or childhood cancer.

Your Spare Change Means Big Hope for Kids!

Looking for a fun and easy way to make a difference in the lives of local children? Sign up for KS95′s Change for Kids program today!  Collect change as a family, sports team, activity group, even at your workplace. Then bring your collected change to Mall of America during the KS95 for Kids Radiothon live broadcast, December 6 and 7. When you drop off change, we’ll also be handing out Nickelodeon Universe “Mystery Passes” which could get you one ride, multiple rides or unlimited rides at the park!

Want to get the latest KS95 for Kids news and updates? “Like” KS95 for Kids on Facebook. On Twitter? Follow us @KS95forKids.

Gearing Up for Duluth Dance Marathon!

Posted On: 10/18/2012

Students at the University of Minnesota – Duluth kicked off fundraising for their 2013 Dance Marathon last night, with a Battle of the Bands fundraising event. The event, which pitted seven bands against one another in friendly competition, raised more than $250 for Dance Marathon, which is slated for February 15, 2013.  All Dance Marathon proceeds benefit Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare.

Thanks to the Dance Marathon Executive Board for signing Gillette’s Cure Pity Pledge! Mark your calendars for a night of fun and non-stop dancing for a great cause on February 15, 2013!








Hispanic Radiothon Raises More Than $44,000!

Posted On: 10/10/2012

Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare serves thousands of Latino children and families every year.  Last weekend brought an exciting opportunity to connect with the Twin Cities Hispanic community through our second annual Hispanic Radiothon, Radio Rey With Love for the Kids.   The event, which broadcast live on Radio Rey 630 AM, raised a record-setting $44,758 for Gillette through call-in pledges, walk-up donations and support from sponsors Land O’Lakes and Deli Express.

In a major highlight of the weekend, Gillette patient families — many whose stories were featured in pre-recorded interviews throughout Radiothon — visited the Radiothon’s on-site locations (in St. Paul on Saturday and Minneapolis on Sunday) to contribute change collected from family and friends.

Thank you to Radio Rey, Land O’Lakes, Deli Express, and the local Hispanic community for helping to make our Radiothon a success!

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