It was a weekend of once-in-a-lifetime experiences for several Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare families during the recent Super Bowl and Super Fest activities in the Twin Cities.
Two Gillette patients, Gage Robinson and Danny Lilya, won tickets to attend the big game at U. S. Bank Stadium to watch the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots.
Danny, a lifelong Minnesota Vikings fan, was born with a spine defect that resulted in paralysis from the waist down. He’s always been an athlete—hockey, baseball and football, where he serves as field goal holder for the Moose Lake, Minnesota Rebels. Danny received his tickets during a surprise on-field event with Minnesota Vikings kicker Kai Forbath.
Gage won his tickets to the big game courtesy of Element Electronics and a Gillette #BoldNorth giveaway. His name was picked at random from 140 families who entered an online drawing held by Gillette. Gage, who has a traumatic brain injury, attended the game with his older brother, Jordan. The two proudly waved “Fly Eagles Fly” towels during the game and were thrilled by the Philadelphia victory.
For many Gillette kids, festivities began even before game day. Super Fest Minnesota, held Saturday, February 3, allowed kids of all abilities to interact and learn from professional football coaches, NFL alumni and NFL cheerleaders. Segments of this fun family event were aired on ESPN and several other media outlets. Sixty Gillette families attended the event at the Eden Prairie High School Dome.
Trisha Brisbine is the program coordinator for the Family Voices of Minnesota CONNECTED Program and a Gillette mom. She attended Super Fest with her 11-year-old son, Drew, 9-year-old daughter, Sadie and 8-year-old son, Charlie. She says seeing all of her kids playing on the field together gave her “the most wonderful day!”
“Charlie has developmental delays and that can prohibit him from participating in activities with his same-age peers. Super Fest was such a bright moment for my two boys and I pray for more truly inclusive opportunities like this in the future,” Brisbine adds. “It’s seldom that I have the opportunity to encourage both of the boys equally and simultaneously.”
Gillette neurodevelopmental pediatrician Kim McConnell, MD, is one of Charlie's Gillette physicians. She also attended Super Fest and says it was a “terrific event for everyone involved.” McConnell says she enjoyed seeing Gillette kids and their siblings having fun and learning new skills.
“Rampage, the LA Rams mascot, was on the field and the kids loved his antics and having their pictures taken with him,” McConnell says.
McConnell was amazed and how well-organized the event was and is glad it will be held next year in Atlanta as part of the Super Bowl LIII festivities.