RedefiningPossibilities
RedefiningFierce

Ashlyn

Slowly and deliberately, 3-year-old Ashlyn reaches down to her socks. She pulls them off, one by one, and throws them over the side of her hospital bed. Now she’s ready for naptime.

Ashlyn’s seemingly simple action moves her mother, Amanda Stombaugh, to tears. At that moment, she knows her little girl isn’t lost. “Before the accident, Ashlyn always removed her socks before naptime or bedtime,” says Stombaugh. “That’s her personality—it’s part of who she is.”

Twelve days earlier, Ashlyn had been critically injured when a dump truck hit her family’s car. Her father, Luke, and brother, Noah, also sustained serious injuries.

When Ashlyn arrived at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, doctors discovered severe swelling, bruising and bleeding in her brain. She also had skull fractures and broken bones. “We were so worried that maybe there would be permanent damage, that maybe she would be different,” recalls Stombaugh.

To her family’s joy, pulling off her socks became the first of many feats Ashlyn would achieve during her seven-week hospital stay. Intense physical, occupational and speech therapy helped Ashlyn regain strength and mobility. Her personality, which her family describes as “fierce,” began to reemerge.

Seven weeks after the accident, Ashlyn had progressed enough to return home. She continues to receive care for her damaged hearing and eyesight, and wears a pink helmet to prevent further injury to her fragile brain.

“Everyone at Gillette truly cares about their patients’ recovery,” says Stombaugh. “That meant seeing Ashlyn for who she was—and she is fierce.”

Share
RedefiningChildhood

Colten

Jamie Case kisses her 2-year-old son, Colten, goodbye as she leaves for her job as a cook at a local Litchfield, Minnesota, restaurant. Colten has been battling the stomach flu, so Case and her husband have spent the afternoon trying to get their usually active son to take it easy.

A few hours into her shift, Case gets a frantic call from her husband, Steve Case, telling her to come to their local emergency room immediately. When she arrives, she learns that she and Colten are taking a helicopter flight to a Twin Cities children’s hospital. Colten’s condition is very serious. He’s unresponsive, convulsing and having significant seizures.

“Our lives changed in an instant,” Steve Case says. “Things got very dark, very fast.”

An MRI showed inflammation on Colten’s brain, and doctors decided to put him into a medically induced coma to help his brain recover. “They were giving antibiotics, but he kept getting worse,” Steve Case recalls.

Colten spent 17 days in that hospital before the doctors told his parents there was nothing more they could do. They recommended Colten go to Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare for rehabilitation. At Gillette, Colten began a rehabilitation program that included five therapy sessions a day.

Meanwhile, the Gillette neurological team continued to search for answers. It wasn’t long before pediatric neurologist Amanda Moen, M.D., found the answer the family was looking for. She determined that Colten had autoimmune encephalitis—a rare condition in which the immune system attacks the brain.

Moen recommended that Colten try an intravenous drug called Rituximab. The side effects can be serious, so she encouraged Colten’s parents to weigh their options. “That was hard,” Steve Case says. “But we thought the drug was our best chance of giving Colten back his childhood.”

After the initial five-hour session, Colten began to improve. Over the next few weeks of his hospital stay, Colten was given four rounds of the drug, and he continued his rigorous therapy programs. “We got our boy back,” Steve Case exclaims. “Gillette was our ray of light in a very dark time,” Jamie Case adds.

Share

Creating Opportunities for Improvement and Recovery

Following surgery or injury, patients like Ashlyn often require intensive rehabilitation. Aquatic therapy can be an important part of their recovery.
More »

Creating Opportunities for Improvement and Recovery

Following surgery or injury, patients like Esme often require intensive rehabilitation. Aquatic therapy at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare can be an important part of their recovery. More kids than ever before are now able to benefit from aquatic therapy with the opening in December 2015 of a therapy pool at our St. Paul campus. Located next to our therapy gym, the new pool includes several features specifically designed to meet needs of children who have disabilities.

  • The pool floor lowers into the water, so patients don’t need to use a ramp or lift to get in, and therapists can set an ideal depth for each patient.
  • The floor can function as a treadmill, when needed.
  • Underwater cameras can help therapists observe and evaluate patients’ movements.
  • Adjustable jets can change the level of resistance the surrounding water creates as patients work on therapy exercises.

The new pool is also available for outpatient therapy, allowing us to accommodate more than 2,000 therapy sessions per year.

Generous donations from Dairy Queen, Friends of Gillette and others make it possible for kids like Esme, pictured above, to receive life-changing aquatic therapy on our St. Paul campus.

Putting Safety Forward for Every Patient, Every Time

At the core of everything we do is maintaining the safety of our patients. Since 2013, Gillette has been a member of Children’s Hospitals Solutions for Patient Safety (CHSPS), a nationwide collaborative.
More »

Putting Safety Forward for Every Patient, Every Time

At the core of everything we do is maintaining the safety of our patients. Since 2013, Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare has been a member of Children’s Hospitals Solutions for Patient Safety (CHSPS), a nationwide collaborative. Working with more than 90 health care providers and hospitals around the country, CHSPS focuses on reducing readmissions, adverse health events, and hospital acquired conditions (HACs).

Under the collaborative, Gillette developed its Safety Forward initiative, which focuses on reducing nine specific types of HACs. We follow the collaboration’s “best practice bundles,” a rigorous set of clinical practice guidelines. Nurses have reached 80-90 percent bundle compliance for seven of the HACs.

Among other successes, the venous thromboembolism event (VTE) prevention team’s results have led to improved patient outcomes. The overall rate for VTE in 2015 was 0.172 VTEs per 1,000 patient days—a decrease from the 2014 rate of 0.408 VTEs per 1,000 patient days. Reliability with the best practice bundle improved significantly in 2015, averaging 96 percent as compared to our 2014 average of 75 percent.

RedefiningtheFuture

Javier

Javier Hruza admires his new passport as he dreams of his first trip to Mexico and a chance to touch the ocean. The 10-year-old’s future is full of plans now that many of his health issues are under control thanks to the care he receives at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare.

Javier has spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy—the most serious and disabling form of cerebral palsy. He also has neuromuscular scoliosis and, until recently, the curve in his spine was getting worse due to a growth spurt. He was almost at a 90-degree curve and there was a concern it was compromising his breathing and crushing his organs.

“He was just in pain all the time and he was not enjoying life,” says his mother Elee Hruza.

Gillette orthopedic surgeon Tenner Guillaume, M.D., recommended Javier undergo surgery using Magnetically driven Growing Rods, a new technology. Guillaume implanted two metal rods in Javier’s back to straighten his spine, and uses magnets to lengthen the rods as Javier grows. The technique allows Javier to avoid one of the major drawbacks of a traditional rod system—having surgery every three to six months to adjust the implanted rods.

That’s important to Javier and his mother, because Javier has other dreams. Before this procedure Hruza was concerned Javier would need frequent surgeries and his travel plans would be limited.

Now, instead of surgery, Javier has a 30-minute office visit every three months for Guillaume to lengthen and adjust his spinal rods. “There’s no prep for the appointment and Javier doesn’t feel discomfort,” Hruza says. “It’s sort of like when you get the braces on your teeth tightened. It feels a little weird the first day or so, but eventually you adjust.”

Thanks to this innovative approach, the two are planning trips all over the world. “I want to take Javier to see the Eiffel Tower,” Hruza exclaims. “I feel like our possibilities are endless.”

Share
RedefiningExpectations

Walker

On a bright September day, Candice Surcey arrives at the Minnesota Zoo with her 7-month old son, Walker. As Walker takes in the zoo’s sights and sounds, Surcey savors the outing—and reflects on its significance for her family.

“It was a great day,” she recalled nearly a year later. “Walker’s hair was starting to grow in. We didn’t get any curious looks because of his scar or the shape of his head.”

It was the type of experience that Candice and her husband, Brad Surcey, eagerly anticipated when they learned they would become parents. But from the beginning, Walker’s arrival didn’t align with their expectations. He developed breathing problems at birth and ultimately spent 11 days in the neonatal intensive care unit. “We thought we’d been through the worst of it,” says Candice Surcey.

Shortly after Walker’s parents brought him home, however, new concerns developed— this time, surrounding the shape of their son’s head. “His head formed an indentation from ear to ear,” Candice Surcey remembers. “By the time he turned 2 months old, we had really started to notice it.” At Walker’s 2-month check-up, his pediatrician expressed immediate concern.

Walker and his parents met with craniofacial and plastic surgeon Robert Wood, M.D., the next day. Wood confirmed Walker’s diagnosis of craniosynostosis, a condition in which one or more sutures in a baby’s skull fuse prematurely. While most babies with the condition have only one fused suture, a CT scan revealed Walker had at least five.

“Suddenly, the unknowns were gone,” says Brad Surcey of the hourlong discussion with Wood. “We had a plan and we were going to follow it.”

Walker had cranial vault remodeling surgery at 4 months old. Because of Wood’s innovative approach to the procedure, Walker didn’t need a blood transfusion, something that 90-100 percent of patients typically need. Even better, Wood accomplished enough during the procedure that it’s unlikely Walker will need a second corrective surgery.

Share

Blending Art With Science

Not every child who has a misshapen head has a condition like Walker’s that requires surgery.
More »

Blending Art With Science

Not every child who has a misshapen head has a condition that requires surgery. For many, the unusual head shape—called deformational plagiocephaly—is successfully treated with a custom cranial helmet. In 2000, Gillette was the first hospital in the country to receive FDA approval for the design of such a device—the Gillette CranioCap® orthosis.

In 2015, Gillette further advanced its production of CranioCap® orthoses with the purchase of the hospital’s first 3-D printer. We use the technology to create accurate head models of the patients being fitted. Since the models were previously fabricated off-site, the 3-D printer cuts down on production costs and improves turnaround times.

But saving time and money weren’t the only considerations regarding the purchase. Having the printer also means that we can view and precisely design each model, simulate changes, and ultimately, produce a cap that’s much better suited to the specific needs of each patient. This process in the past was much more of an art, but the printer allows us to blend that art with very specific science.

Innovating Treatment Options for Orthopedic Conditions

For patients like Javier, advanced technology means fewer surgeries, which minimizes risk and can lead to better outcomes.
More »

Innovating Treatment Options for Orthopedic Conditions

For patients like Joshua, advanced technology means fewer surgeries, which minimizes risk and can lead to better outcomes. Pediatric spine surgeons at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare were the first in the region to treat early-onset scoliosis with Magnetically driven Growing Rods, an advanced magnetic system that is less invasive than traditional treatment options.

Gillette uses a similar technology—motorized intramedullary limb lengthening—to treat limb-length discrepancies. Orthopedic surgeons at Gillette have used this method more than 200 times in the past six years with excellent results, including a decrease in pain and scarring from the procedure. For limb-lengthening procedures, the magnetic system allows for incremental adjustments three or four times per day, compared with once every three months for spinal correction.

RedefiningFamily

The Dudleys

Kent Dudley pushes a wheelchair up a ramp and into a specially equipped passenger van. He straps his child into the van, but he doesn’t linger. He has two more children waiting their turns to be secured in the vehicle for the monthly four-hour drive to Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. It’s not an easy task, but Dudley says he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Shantel and Kent Dudley are the parents of 13 children—seven biological and six adopted. All six of their adopted children are considered to be medically fragile. They live outside of Bemidji, Minnesota, and say thanks to the coordinated care program at Gillette they’re able to give their children the lives they deserve.

The younger children range in age from 4 to 14 and have a mix of serious medical conditions such as cerebral palsy, microcephaly, and scoliosis. Through a pilot program funded by the Minnesota Department of Health, Gillette is providing a highly focused care coordination model for patients like the Dudley children, partnering the family with a dedicated team that includes a registered nurse, a scheduler and a social worker.

“When you’re the parent of several kids who have special needs, you feel like you’re constantly fighting with somebody to make sure your kids are getting what they need,” says Shantel Dudley. “But there’s no fighting with Gillette. It’s nice not having to be on the phone every day trying to coordinate things with doctors. The coordinated care team works closely with us. It’s taken a lot off of me so I can spend more time being a mom and less time being a family administrator,”

Dudley wants her family to be an example and to encourage others to adopt medically fragile children. “We tell people in our area that Gillette is a wonderful partner,” Dudley says. “Without Gillette we wouldn’t have the lifestyle we have.”

Share
RedefiningPerceptions

Alexandra

The invitations have been delivered, the cake ordered, the favors purchased. But as Caroline Estrada prepares to throw an eighth birthday party for her daughter, Alexandra, she can’t help but worry about the approaching celebration.

Three months earlier, Alexandra began attending a new school after the family moved to the East Coast. School hadn’t been in session a week when Estrada received a surprising report from Alexandra’s teacher.

“Other parents have started asking what my daughter has,” Estrada shared on Facebook’s Cerebral Palsy Resource Group, which is managed by Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. “I told the teacher to tell other parents that she has cerebral palsy, but she is just like the other kids.”

As Alexandra grew, her symptoms worsened. So Estrada started searching for new treatment options. Research led her to Gillette, where the hospital’s integrated care model “sold us,” says Estrada.

In May 2015, Alexandra had a selective dorsal rhizotomy, a neurosurgery that permanently reduces muscle tightness. “At the hospital, Alexandra didn’t like that people were talking about cerebral palsy,” Estrada remembers. “She didn’t want to have it and didn’t want to be different.”

Meetings with a Gillette psychologist helped change Alexandra’s perception of her disability. Now, she and her mom are shifting others’ perceptions, too. After Estrada’s Facebook post, the outpouring of support she received inspired her to become an overnight author, creating a photo book to explain why Alexandra uses leg braces and a wheelchair. But the book spends the most time highlighting commonalities. The book ends with a simple wish from Alexandra: “I hope we can be friends.”

Share

A Promise to Her Dad Motivates Maria Renata

Seven-year-old Maria Renata Sanchez Diaz traveled 1,600 miles from her home in Mexico City to Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare to receive a variety of therapies to help manage cerebral palsy.
More »

A Promise to Her Dad Motivates Maria Renata

Seven-year-old Maria Renata Sanchez Diaz traveled 1,600 miles from her home in Mexico City to Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare to receive a variety of therapies to help manage cerebral palsy.

Renata, as her family calls her, came to Gillette with her mother to work with physical therapists, occupational therapists and orthopedic specialists.

Renata takes advantage of all Gillette has to offer and has an incredible focus and determination during her many therapy sessions.  Through an interpreter, Renata says every day she thinks of a promise she made to her dad, and that keeps her motivated.

“I promised my dad that one day I’ll walk on the beach with him,” Renata says.   

Renata and her mother know it’ll take many months of hard work and, perhaps, some future surgeries before walking on the beach is reality, but Renata is determined.

“Being here is my only opportunity to walk.  I’m going to get better.  My wish is to walk with my dad,” Renata says. 

Providing Coordinated Care to Families across the State

Helping families like the Dudleys has been part of the Gillette mission since its founding in 1897.
More »

Providing Coordinated Care to Families across the State

Helping families like the Dudleys has been part of the mission of Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare since its founding in 1897. In 2014, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) awarded Gillette a three-year, $480,000 grant to further help families navigate the sometimes difficult scheduling issues involved in getting treatment for their children who have complex medical conditions. The program provides assistance to families living in rural areas, where specialty health care services are sparse. It also helps families who have recently immigrated to the U.S. or have limited English proficiency.

Although coordinated care isn’t a new concept at Gillette, the MDH grant opens up new opportunities—to improve patient tracking, for example, and to pilot new approaches to care. Gillette has partnered with four primary care clinics across Minnesota, and the team works closely with 36 families currently enrolled in the program funded by the grant. Gillette also joined the Minnesota Department of Human Service’s Integrated Health Partnerships (IHP) in 2015.

Gillette is now part of the state’s groundbreaking approach to delivering quality health care more efficiently to families across the state.

The IHP is comprised of 19 provider groups and more than 340,000 enrollees in Medical Assistance—the state’s Medicaid program—and MinnesotaCare, a program for residents who don’t have access to affordable health care coverage. In 2015, 60 percent of all Gillette visits were from patients who were eligible for or covered under Medicaid.

RedefiningHope

Yael

Nathalie Wahnon watches her 12-yearold daughter, Yael, struggle to stand. She’s running out of hope and options in her native Venezuela. Yael has cerebral palsy, and as her legs grow weaker it becomes difficult for her to walk. With limited opportunities for medical treatment in her homeland, Wahnon takes action. She writes a letter to the international team at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare.

After reviewing the letter, Gillette orthopedic surgeon Tom Novacheck, M.D., scheduled a virtual visit with Yael. Using a secure connection through a computer, Novacheck observed Yael. “Her function was going downhill fast,” he says. “She was losing the ability to stand and take steps. Her knees were crossing and she was very weak.” Novacheck suggested to Wahnon that Yael could be helped by the specialty services offered at Gillette.

The Wahnon family arrived in Minnesota in November 2015. That month, Novacheck performed five surgeries on Yael in a seven-hour session. As part of the surgeries he inserted metal implants in both her legs, which will have to be removed sometime next year.

Both Yael and her mother speak Spanish, and during their stay at Gillette they used the help of an interpreter to communicate. Wanting to properly express her thanks to Novacheck and his team, Wahnon enlisted the help of Gillette interpreter Andrea Zehrer to write him a letter.

“Words are not big enough to thank you for everything you have done for our daughter Yael,” she writes. “No word is good enough to express our gratitude for helping our daughter have a better quality of life and to overcome the challenges she’s had since birth.”

“I’ve never received such a gracious note,” says Novacheck of Wahnon’s letter. Wahnon adds, “We’re now hopeful for Yael’s future.”

Share
RedefiningService

Steven Koop, M.D.

Steven Koop, M.D., sits back in his chair, his long legs crossed casually, his hands folded in his lap as he listens intently to the young girl sitting across from him. He’s quiet and thoughtful as she shares her concerns about her condition.

When he speaks, Koop’s voice is tranquil. In soothing tones he lays out a treatment plan, constantly assuring her that they’ll get through this. Together.

Beneath Koop’s unassuming demeanor is a wealth of knowledge and medical expertise unmatched in pediatric specialty care. For 30 years, Koop has sat across from his patients at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare and helped them see possibilities.

For Koop, medical practice starts with two chairs. “The two chairs are the one I sit in and the one a mom or patient or caregiver sits in,” he explains. “This is what Gillette is about. Someone who says, ‘Help,’ and someone in the other chair to say, ‘That’s my work. To help you.’ All of medicine collapses to that interchange. The rest is in service to that relationship.”

Serving the relationship between patient and physician has been Koop’s mission since he joined Gillette as a young orthopedic surgeon in 1985. In the 30 ensuing years, he’s served in various roles, including surgeon, chief of staff and medical director. But his vision of putting the patient first has never wavered.

“All organizations have an administrative hierarchy,” Koop says. “But in reality, we all work for the same employer, and that’s our patient. Everyone plays a role in that service, including nonclinical staff. Buying the best product or getting the right information system is all in service to the patient”

As medical director, Koop has been a defining force in the direction Gillette has taken for the past three decades. His influences can be found everywhere, from our world-renowned James R. Gage Center for Gait and Motion Analysis, which he helped open in 1987, to our Motor Delay Diagnosis and Treatment Clinic established in 2015.

Koop has long championed the Gillette integrated care model and has been integral to its continued growth.

“Even before I came to Gillette, Steve was adamant about the importance of families having all of the specialists they need under one roof,” says Tom Novacheck, M.D., associate medical director for the Center for Gait and Motion Analysis who has worked with Koop since 1991. “I see so many patients who travel a great distance because they value the communication and the care coordination we offer, largely because of Steve.”

Mark Gormley, M.D., associate medical director for physical medicine and rehabilitation, agrees. “Steve Koop’s mantra has always been ‘do what’s best for the patient.’ The great success of Gillette reflects his ongoing leadership in this commitment.”

That Gillette has an unwavering commitment to serving patients who have medically complex conditions is a source of pride for Koop. “We’ve been able to hold our focus, and that’s no small accomplishment considering how much change has occurred in 30 years,” he says. “We’re much bigger and more diverse in our service. There are more specialties involved today, but we still have a mission to serve this certain group of patients. That’s the thing I’m most proud of for the organization as a whole.”

"For a lot of the kids we work with, it's not a question of restoring function or returning them to a previously typical level of activity. Rather, it's trying to understand what is possible, coupled with what is expected or hoped for."

-Steven, Koop, M.D., Medical Director

Share
RedefiningResearch

Knowledge Translation: What It Is and Why It Matters

In an era of change, health care systems worldwide are faced with the challenge of improving the quality of care while decreasing the risk of adverse events.
More »

Knowledge Translation: What It Is and Why It Matters

In an era of change, health care systems worldwide are faced with the challenge of improving the quality of care while decreasing the risk of adverse events. In order to meet this challenge, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare has launched an aggressive knowledge translation initiative that aims to advance patient outcomes and experience by better incorporating current medical research into ongoing clinical practice.

Knowledge translation is about bringing the right information to the right people at the right time to have an impact on decision-making. Knowledge translation specialists at Gillette identify areas of strength, as well as areas where we can continue to adapt our clinical practices to be in line with current evidence-based medical research

This practice will not only keep Gillette at the forefront of our field, but also will create opportunities for Gillette to collaborate with thought leaders and other institutions all over the world.

Prestigious Grant From the National Institutes of Health Means Better Outcomes for Kids Who Have Cerebral Palsy

There is no cure for cerebral palsy, but with the help of rehabilitation therapy, surgical intervention and other treatments, kids who have cerebral palsy can manage its effects and live life to the fullest.
More »

Prestigious Grant From the National Institutes of Health Means Better Outcomes for Kids Who Have Cerebral Palsy

A five-year, $1.6 million research project grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will allow a team from the Gillette James R. Gage Center for Gait and Motion Analysis to help improve outcomes for people who have cerebral palsy. In partnership with researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle, the multiyear study will focus on 55 patients who have diplegic cerebral palsy and who will have surgery at Gillette. Each patient will undergo a gait analysis and an electromyogram (EMG) before and after the surgery to measure motor control.

The study is one of several that encompass our ongoing gait and motion analysis research, which focuses on understanding the basic principles of movement, deciding on and improving treatment options for patients, and measuring outcomes.  

Rett Syndrome Research Offers Hope

Rett syndrome is a rare disorder that affects females almost exclusively and results in slowed or stalled development of skills like walking and talking.
More »

Rett Syndrome Research Offers Hope

Rett syndrome is a rare disorder that affects females almost exclusively and results in slowed or stalled development of skills like walking and talking. Because Rett syndrome currently has no cure, those abilities cannot be regained.

In 2015, Gillette announced participation in the Rett Natural History Study. This study focuses on gathering vital genetic knowledge about people who have Rett syndrome that will influence future trials of medications and could lead to other treatments.

“Gillette sees a large volume of Rett syndrome patients from throughout the Midwest,” explains Timothy Feyma, M.D., a pediatric neurologist and coinvestigator in the Rett Natural History Study. “This, combined with our specialty care focus, puts us in an ideal position to conduct research aimed at understanding the condition.”

Summer Intern Program Helps Patient Give Back

When 23-year-old Uyen Truong noticed a call-out for summer research interns at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in the spring of 2015, she felt compelled to apply.
More »

Summer Intern Program Helps Patient Give Back

When Uyen Truong noticed a call-out for summer research interns at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in the spring of 2015, she felt compelled to apply. “Working with kids is my passion,” says Truong. “And I have a special connection with Gillette.”

Truong, 23, has been a Gillette patient for as long as she can remember. She has a genetic brittle bone disease called osteopetrosis, which means her bones contain too much calcium and easily fracture. “I’ve had multiple breaks treated at Gillette,” she says. Truong has continued to benefit from Gillette services into adulthood—most recently, for adaptive technology to help her succeed in medical school at the University of Minnesota, which she started in 2015. 

Truong’s internship at Gillette merged her passion for helping children with her scientific background. While collaborating with her physician mentor, Walter Truong, M.D., (no relation), and scientific mentor, Susan Novotny, Ph.D., Uyen Truong experienced firsthand how physicians work with clinical scientists to integrate research into their practice. “Gillette has always been there for me, and I wanted to pay it forward,” explains Uyen Truong. “I understand what it’s like to be a patient and know how difficult it can be, so to get a chance to help others and learn in the same place that’s always helped me was incredibly rewarding.”

RedefiningGiving

Volunteer Organization Raises Spirits and Funds

Martha Wilson gets eye-to-eye with 3-year-old Esme Erickson and listens intently as Esme tells her about how much fun she had in the new therapy pool at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare.
More »

Volunteer Organization Raises Spirits and Funds

Martha Wilson gets eye-to-eye with 3-year-old Esme Erickson and listens intently as Esme tells her how much fun she had in the new therapy pool at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. It’s a moment of shared joy that Wilson treasures just as much as Esme and her mom, Ann Erickson. As 2015 president of Friends of Gillette, Wilson helps guide the volunteer organization’s fundraising efforts and other activities to support kids like Esme.

Friends of Gillette contributed $196,500 to help build the therapy pool on the St. Paul campus. The pool is one of many projects the group has helped fund during its 33-year history. Since1982, Friends of Gillette has provided nearly $4.5 million for the children served by Gillette. 

Friends of Gillette hosts an annual benefit to raise awareness of Gillette and money for its vital services. A family-friendly holiday gala, the event includes a visit to the theater. In 2015, the benefit featured a matinee performance of The Sound of Music at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul, Minnesota, followed by a fundraising reception that raised $284,000 to build a new playroom on our Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit. The playroom will allow kids to have fun as they build strength after an accident or major orthopedic or spinal cord surgery.

“We welcome new members who want to deepen their connection to Gillette and its mission,” says Wilson. For morei nformation, visit Friends of Gillette.

For Gillette Employees, There’s No Such Thing as “Good Enough”

Jennifer Wilhelmy, a nurse practitioner at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, stands before a room of her colleagues and shares her personal reason for donating to Gillette.
More »

For Gillette Employees, There’s No Such Thing as “Good Enough”

Jennifer Wilhelmy, a nurse practitioner at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, stands before a room of her colleagues and shares her personal reason for donating to Gillette.

“My uncle John had cerebral palsy,” says Wilhelmy. “His spastic quadriplegia kept him from being independently mobile, but his brain never stopped dreaming.”

Like Wilhelmy, Gillette employees give from the heart every day through the work they do—and often, they give even more. In 2015, 414 employees gave more than $146,000 to Gillette during the month-long Giving From the Heart employee giving campaign. Employees could elect to give to a number of funds, including one to help Gillette build a new technology room on the Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit. The specially equipped rooms will help kids build strength and independence after an accident or major orthopedic or spinal cord surgery.

Employees such as Nancy He in Pharmacy and LuAnn Zerwekh in Communications and Advertising served as team leads for their departments. They showed a great deal of fundraising creativity by collecting gift items and holding giveaways in exchange for donations to Gillette. Other employees sold baked goods or sent inspiring messages to teammates to keep them engaged. Wilhelmy and Sally Wulfing, Inpatient Rehabilitation Unit manager, served as the 2015 employee giving co-chairs.

“This passion for our patients and the independence that we help them to achieve is why I work at Gillette and give generously to the employee giving campaign,” says Wilhelmy.

When Wilhelmy’s uncle received his first power wheelchair in the 1970s, it was considered so high-tech that it made the newspaper. He commanded the state-of-the-art chair to move by wearing a helmet with a stick attached. The chair, which had given him so much independence, looks antiquated to us now.

“What if advancements made by the medical community had stopped there?” says Wilhelmy. “What if we had said, ‘Good enough’?”

The desire to move Gillette patients forward—it’s what motivates us.

Reaching Out With a Happy Heart

Richard “Joe” Humber, a cashier at the St. Louis Park Costco, has a zest for winning and a gregarious personality.
More »

Reaching Out With a Happy Heart

Richard “Joe” Humber, a cashier at the St. Louis Park Costco, has a zest for winning and a gregarious personality. In 2015, he singlehandedly raised more than $7,000 by asking his customers if they would consider donating to Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. “It’s the competition that drives me,” Humber explains with a laugh. “I ask everybody. You have to reach out with a happy heart and ask.”

Giving back to the community is a Costco tradition—and, for its employees, an opportunity to engage in friendly competition. Since 2001, the company’s Minnesota stores have raised $1,432,968 for Gillette, Minnesota’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. Employees raise funds throughout the month of May.

Humber has been the top individual fundraiser among all Minnesota Costco stores for five consecutive years. Learning that pediatric rehabilitation is among the Gillette areas of focus cemented his resolve to fundraise. More than 10 years ago, Humber spent three months undergoing inpatient rehabilitation after a serious motorcycle accident.

Fun and Fitness to Support Gillette

Bennett Meiser, 3, loves swimming, construction vehicles, and playing with his big brother Jameson and dog Daisy.
More »

Fun and Fitness to Support Gillette

On a brisk day in October 2015, a princess, a hotdog, an M&M, and a minion, as well as hundreds of other costumed participants, gathered at the starting line at Wolfe Park in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, to have fun and make a difference. Michelle Meiser created the Ding Dong Dash 5K Run and 1K Walk to support people living with cerebral palsy.

In 2015, the event benefited the Gait and Motion Outcomes Fund at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. The inaugural event raised $13,000 to support cerebral palsy research at Gillette. What’s learned from that research will become the cornerstone of tomorrow’s therapies.

Gillette Golf Classic a Hole in One for Gillette Kids

On a sunny day in early June 2015, Alliance Insurance Advisors employees and supporters met at Southview Country Club in St. Paul, Minnesota, for a great day of golf with a serious purpose.
More »

Gillette Golf Classic a Hole in One for Gillette Kids

On a sunny day in early June 2015, Alliance Insurance Advisors employees and supporters met at Southview Country Club in St. Paul, Minnesota, for a great day of golf with a serious purpose: to raise money for neuroscience research at Gillette. They succeeded in raising more than $12,000. Alliance Insurance Advisors LLC strives to make a difference in the community through volunteering and financial contributions. In 2011, it created the Alliance Annual Charity Golf Event to raise money for local charities. One hundred percent of the funds raised by the golf tournament goes to the causes it supports, and in 2015, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare became the beneficiary.

An Investment in Kids Unites Three Hiway Federal Credit Union Presidents

On Aug. 17, 2015, three Hiway Federal Credit Union presidents gathered to celebrate an investment in kids.
More »

An Investment in Kids Unites Three Hiway Federal Credit Union Presidents

On Aug. 17, 2015, three Hiway Federal Credit Union presidents gathered to celebrate an investment in kids. Current president Dave Boden joined past presidents Jeff Schwalen (2002-2013) and Jim Seifert (1999-2002) to celebrate the more than $410,000 raised for Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare by the credit union since 1997. Hiway raises money for Gillette through cookouts, paper heart sales and dress-down days. It participates in Minnesota Credit Unions for Kids, a collaboration of credit unions, chapters, leagues and business partners engaged in fundraising activities that benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMN). In Minnesota and western Wisconsin, all donations made to CMN benefit Gillette.

A Message from Our CEO and Board Chair

Families often come to Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare following a watershed moment. Perhaps they’ve just learned their child has a disability. Or their loved one has sustained a traumatic injury. It’s our job to build the bridge that helps them get from crisis to the new reality—to redefine possibilities. 

We redefine possibilities for our patients by helping them envision a path they had never imagined. Sometimes that means showing a young girl who has cerebral palsy how her future can include hockey, dance classes or travel. Or it means helping a teenager who has sustained a brain injury learn how to study differently so that he can pursue education beyond high school.

Gillette was founded nearly 120 years ago to provide treatment for children who have significant musculoskeletal and neurological conditions. Because of our unique focus, we care for children who require lifelong care coordination and benefit from medical interventions. Our case mix index—a measure of the acuity of our patient population—is among the highest in Minnesota according to state data. Gillette has one of the largest populations of children on Medicaid in Minnesota, and we care for children on Medicaid from numerous other states every year.

Our patients typically require intense lifelong care and medical intervention due to conditions such as cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury, spina bifida, epilepsy and skeletal deformities. The vast majority of our patients have multiple overlying conditions for which there are no cures. At Gillette, we focus on the care and interventions that will best improve quality of life, functionality and patients’ ability to participate in their communities.

In addition to providing the best medical science and technology, we have people who are the best at what they do. From the bedside to the boardroom, Gillette staff members and supporters work with a singular focus: to put the patient first.

Thank you for helping us continue to explore new treatment options, conduct research that advances the field of medicine, and advocate for communities to welcome and embrace people of all abilities.

With your support, we know that anything is possible.

Sincerely,

Financial Results

As a not-for-profit hospital, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare is committed to efficiently using donor and taxpayer dollars to provide high-level care to our patients. We’re dedicated to being good financial stewards to keep us sustainable for the future. We’re pleased to share our fiscal year 2015 consolidated financial statement of Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare and Gillette Children’s Foundation. If you have any questions about this statement, please contact James Haddican at 651-312-3105 or JHaddican@gillettechildrens.com.

Revenue and Expenses

Gillette Children's Revenues and Expenses 2015

Patient Statistics 2011-2015

Gillette Children's 2015 Patient Volumes