"It was definitely a shock. I almost didn’t believe it at first. I’m a competitive athlete; I’d never really been hurt or sick in my entire life. I didn’t even know what scoliosis was." - Avery Wright
Jun. 30, 2020
After Treatment for Scoliosis, Taylor Barrels Ahead
Taylor’s a nationally ranked, competitive barrel racer. To watch her ride is a study of grace in motion. She makes it look effortless. When you stop to consider that she’s doing all of it while dealing with juvenile idiopathic scoliosis (JIS), it becomes even more impressive.
Jun. 20, 2020
Olympic Qualifier, Kyra Condie Reaches New Heights Following Spinal Fusion
This is not the summer Kyra Condie, 24, was supposed to have. Just a few months from now, Kyra was supposed to be in Tokyo, competing as a climber in the Summer Olympics.It would’ve been the first time climbing was featured as an event in the Olympics and for her, a tremendous personal achievement. A milestone she’s been working towards her whole life.
Jun. 9, 2020
Erika Comes Back After Spinal Fusion
"I realized, for the first time, that I was shooting straight. Due to my scoliosis, I'd been overcompensating." Erika, a basketball player, gained confidence after surgery to correct her spinal curvature.
Jun. 4, 2020
Gillette Children’s Healthcare Press Brings the Personal and Medical to Parents
Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare has launched a new resource to help parents of children who have complex, rare or traumatic conditions. The first book released by the new Gillette Children’s Healthcare Press is Spastic Diplegia—Bilateral Cerebral Palsy and it’s written by Lily Collison, an Ireland-based author and the mother of a Gillette patient.
May. 28, 2020
Gillette to Offer Virtual Appointments Whenever Clinically Appropriate
The outbreak of COVID-19 is an unprecedented crisis that has disrupted the lives, schedules and daily routines of millions across the globe. This is a difficult time and we know that our patients and families are going through many transitions simultaneously right now. At Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, our number one goal is keeping you and your family safe. To help during this time, we’ll be offering virtual appointments via video whenever possible and clinically appropriate.
Apr. 9, 2020
Puppies with Purpose: The Benefits of Animal-Assisted Therapy
“It’s just so wonderful to watch these children get better. It’s also very rewarding to see the connection that forms between the children and my dogs. They become friends.”
Feb. 24, 2020
Sophia Soars: Family Makes 700-Mile Journey to Treat Daughter’s Cerebral Palsy
"Every step Sophia takes is a testament to the countless dedicated individuals who made it possible," says her mother, Susan Slinkard. Sophia and her family traveled from Arkansas to Minnesota for several major surgeries aimed at reducing Sophia's spasticity.
Jan. 16, 2020
No Helmet, No Slide: Wear a Helmet While Sledding, Because Your Brain Matters
Going sledding is ridiculously fun. It can also be dangerous. Wearing a helmet makes it safer.
Dec. 26, 2019
Many the Miles: Deep Brain Stimulation Gives the Gift of a Son
As loud music filled the adjoining hallways near the Neurosciences unit at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, passersby could be forgiven if they were a bit confused. The atmosphere was festive and there was good reason for it. At long last, James Bostic, 17, was able to go home. He had been in the hospital for 15 months.
Dec. 2, 2019
The Miracle of Owen
Owen Nei is 10 years old, an avid hockey and baseball player, and a young man who lights up every room he’s in with his positive, irrepressible attitude. Given how his life started out, the fact that he’s even here, much less doing all of these things, is nothing short of a miracle.
Nov. 18, 2019
Gillette Assistance Program (GAP) Changes Lives
Nicole Leinonen says she’ll never forget the phone call that she says changed her life. “Every time I think of that phone call from Gillette telling me that I qualified for some financial assistance I get emotional. I’m amazed at how generous people are,” Nicole says. “The Gillette Assistance Program (GAP) means I can focus on Ella and her needs. I don’t have to be so stressed worrying about how, as a single parent, I can pay for her care.”
Nov. 7, 2019
Dog Treats Mean Business for Teen Who Has CP
Learn about how Jennifer and her son Nick, a Gillette patient who has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, came up with an idea for a part-time business making dog treats and turned it into a reality that they hope will provide employment opportunities to other young adults who have disabilities.
Oct. 24, 2019
Super Sam and Cerebral Palsy
At Target Field, every Sunday is Kid’s Day and on a beautiful summer day in August, Samuel Anastos scored the first honorary run of a Minnesota Twins game. It was a joyous moment made all the more meaningful because there was a time in Sam’s life when his parents questioned whether he would learn to walk or talk, much less run.
Oct. 3, 2019
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 as part of her plan to keep a promise to her dad.
Oct. 2, 2019
Dear Theodora: One Family’s Cerebral Palsy Journey
There are few moments in life as exciting and anxiety inducing as the day you have your first child, but for Andrew Bailey and his wife, Amanda, things were a bit more complicated. Amanda was home in Connecticut getting ready for her baby shower. Andrew, a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, was in Seattle for an away game.
Oct. 1, 2019
Love of Dogs Helps Charlie Through Spine Straightening Treatment
Charlie Schultz is a longtime Gillette patient, athlete, and most importantly, a dog lover. Learn how Charlie's love of dogs blossomed (and led to him becoming a dog owner!) during his seven-week inpatient stay to treat his severe spinal curvature, called kyphosis.
Aug. 8, 2019
Virtual Reality Bolsters Clinical Care at Gillette
The hospital can be a scary place for anyone, especially a child, and no matter how nice the staff is or how thoughtfully the clinical spaces are designed, it’s usually difficult for a patient to forget they’re in one. At Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, that’s no longer the case.
Jul. 17, 2019
Mighty Mason’s Recipe for Success: Laughter, Chicken Nuggets and Speech Therapy at Gillette
Mason is a happy five-year-old with a contagious smile and a laugh that brings a smile to your face. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Mason has attended Gillette for occupational, physical and speech therapies to help him strengthen his muscles and vocal skills. Learn how Mason and his family are showing their gratitude for Gillette this summer!
May. 30, 2019
The Long Way Round: A Look Back on my Treatment for Cerebral Palsy
When Jenna Robinson was born, she only weighed three pounds and doctors told her parents she’d never be a “rocket scientist.” Now 28, she holds a Master’s degree in social work and has dedicated her life to helping individuals lead more independent lives.
Mar. 27, 2019
Cerebral Palsy Won’t Slow Wes Down, He’s Unstoppable
Wes Jackson is a thoughtful, kind and inquisitive kid. He also has cerebral palsy, but he won't let that (or anything else for that matter) get in his way. Get to know Wes and his family, you'll be glad you did.
Mar. 21, 2019
All Kinds of Weather, We Stick Together: Laney and Lilah’s Cerebral Palsy Story
Laney and Lilah are feisty, happy twin sisters. They share a diagnosis of cerebral palsy, but that is just one aspect of their lives. More importantly, they dance, they laugh and occasionally throw things.
Mar. 5, 2019
Therapeutic Recreation Provides Guidance for Activities for Children Who Have Disabilities
Rolling over, crawling. The first words, the first steps, the first bike ride. These actions seem small individually, but many serve as formative moments that represent individual progress. They’re the signs that we’re moving forward and the experiences we remember. However, for many of the patients and families at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, these milestones are often delayed—if they happen at all.
Feb. 24, 2019
Limb-Lengthening and the Triumphant Life of Kate Ketelhohn
The day was Christmas Eve, the year was 2003 and the Ketelhohns were resting and watching a movie in their home near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was an idyllic evening, but their youngest daughter, 8-month-old, Kate, had a slight fever. It was the type of malady that many children experience throughout their development. There was no reason to worry, until there was.
Jan. 9, 2019
Cassidy CAN Stand and Cheer
Cassidy and her mom, Darcy, are two of the biggest fans of the University of Minnesota women's volleyball team. They're excited about the NCAA Division I women's volleyball tournament at Target Center in Minneapolis. While they're disappointed the Gophers will not appear in the NCAA tournament, they're proud of what the team accomplished this season. Cassidy has quadriplegic cerebral palsy and her limited use of her arms and legs means is can be difficult to stand and cheer for her team--until Gillette helped make her dream come true.
Dec. 7, 2018
First of Its Kind in the Metro—Aerodigestive Clinic Provides Coordinated, Convenient Care for Families
The human body is a miraculous makeup of coordinated and interconnected systems that, when operating properly, are a wonder to behold. But when things aren’t operating correctly, this interconnectedness can cause a whole host of complications. This issue is precisely why Gillette’s Aerodigestive Clinic was established last year.
Dec. 4, 2018
Chloe and Gracie, Connected by Friendship, a Bridge and Spina Bifida
Take a moment and picture your best friend. They may come into our lives at different times, but everyone has one. How we meet them doesn’t really matter. What matters is finding that one person who truly understands you. That person you can be vulnerable with, who shares in your joy and successes, and helps you through life’s challenges.
Oct. 29, 2018
Hope Brings Her Family “Full Circle” at Gillette
Hope is many things, including an animal-lover, a peacemaker and a big sister. She's also a longtime Gillette patient, where she receives treatment for multiple pterygium syndrome, a condition she shares with her dad.
Jul. 31, 2018
Sports, Fundraising and Fun at the Mauer and Friends Kids Classic
It's rare for a singular event to bring so much joy and meaning to so many individuals and organizations, but Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare's celebration of the 3rd Annual Mauer and Friends Kids Classic, did just that. The event took place on a perfect, June day, and 25 Gillette patients and their families had the experience of a lifetime down on the grass of Target Field.
Jun. 26, 2018
Letters to My Landon: A Message to My Son
Every now and again, I write a new letter to my son, Landon. It’s my testament to him. To who he was, to who he is, and to who he could someday be.
Jun. 3, 2018
Bentley’s Six-Year Journey to Home (and a Shiny New Camper!)
After moving from small-town Iowa to the Twin Cities to be nearer to Gillette, Bentley’s parents describe him as a whole new child. He’s talking, reading and thriving in kindergarten, where his classmates exude kindness.
May. 23, 2018
Lincoln is Going to be Lincoln: How I Learned To Stop Worrying About My Son With Special Needs
Parents worry. Parents worry about their child’s growth, development, friends, school, future. It’s a universal truth, baked into our biology. When a child is diagnosed with special needs, however, a parent’s worry can snowball into anxiety. That's what happened to me, but here's what I did.
Apr. 12, 2018
It’s Not a Career, It’s a Calling: Bringing My Son Home
Louie Romero is a smiley kid that simply can’t help the fact that he is irrepressibly charming. It's Louie's personality that makes an impression when you meet him. The fact that he is in a wheelchair and has cerebral palsy ranks much lower on the list.
Mar. 12, 2018
Minnesota at its Best, Sled Hockey for Children who Have Disabilities
You know, there might be nothing more Minnesotan than lacing up a pair of skates and heading out to the rink. “You bet, you’d better believe it,” says Tony Lang of Loretto, Minnesota. “I grew up playing hockey my whole life. It’s a family tradition. In fact, when we had kids I built a rink in our backyard.”
Feb. 22, 2018
Diehard Vikings Fan Overcomes Disability, Snags Tickets to Super Bowl LII
Not one to sit on the sidelines, Danny Lilya’s wheelchair and congenital spine diagnosis have never defined him. From playing hockey to scoring field goals on the football team, find out how this athlete and Vikings fan is headed to the Super Bowl this weekend.
Jan. 29, 2018
My New Year’s Resolution: Being Courageous for My Daughter
Most parents would tell you that having a child changes your life in ways you never could have imagined. That certainly was the case for my husband, Mike and me. Our daughter, Peyton, is now 6 years old, and it’s been a journey of hope, faith and love.
Jan. 4, 2018
Help Fund Animal-Assisted Therapy at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare
“I don’t think it would surprise anyone to learn that a lot of children love dogs,” says Emily DeBreto. “While we’ve had volunteers bring in therapeutic dogs at the hospital for comfort, we wanted to get our dogs more involved with the actual functional aspects of the therapy we’re providing.”
Nov. 16, 2017
What Happens When You Have Your First Seizure
Even nine years later, George Jamison clearly remembers the moment. He was with his older brother, Jack, at summer camp, having the type of fun that only 8 and 10-year-olds can. Then everything went black. When he awoke, a lot had changed.
Nov. 10, 2017
The Journey of Mateo Arcos: Hope, Love and Cerebral Palsy
As he ambles down a long hospital hallway, smiling with every step and practically daring you to do the same, it can be pretty easy to forget that this wasn't supposed to happen. Mateo Arcos was never supposed to walk.
Oct. 5, 2017
A Message of Love, Parris Recovers From Traumatic Brain Injury
Your brain isn't like your arm. You can’t see it or touch it. It’s not really tangible, which means that we rarely spend time thinking about the thing that makes us think, unless we have to. This is what those who experience a TBI go through.
Sep. 27, 2017
Why Medicaid Matters to my Family: Let’s Talk About it
Rebecca Pierce, the mother of a Gillette patient, speaks out about the importance of protecting Medicaid for children who have disabilities.
Sep. 26, 2017
Therapy Two-A-Days: Connor Tackles Recovery from Traumatic Brain Injury
Tall, red-haired and boisterous, it’s not a surprise to learn that Connor plays on the football team back in North Dakota, or that he’s pretty popular.
Sep. 5, 2017
A Girl, a Bike and a Dream
Born missing her arms, Ruth Evelyn (RE) can do pretty much anything using her feet. But she's always dreamed of riding a bike. So her family turned to Gillette to help make her dream a reality.
Aug. 23, 2017
Leader, Friend, Outdoorsman: Meet Elijah
“Using a wheelchair is good and bad at the same time. A disadvantage is you can’t run around outside like your friends. An advantage is you can cut the line at Nickelodeon Universe. Chair or not, I’m the same person.” See how care at Gillette has helped Elijah emerge as a leader.
Aug. 22, 2017
Kelsey Teaches Yoga, Defies Disability
Kelsey's attitude is so affecting, she says that most people don’t notice at first. Kelsey was born with a radial club hand, and her left arm is significantly shorter than her right. This means that when she’s instructing yoga—perhaps the most public of exercises—she’s essentially doing most of it, one-handed.
Jul. 28, 2017
She’s Katie. It’s Not What She Has, It’s Who She Is
Katie Allee takes Advanced Placement classes. She’s 15, and she’s a straight-A student. Her mind? It’s all there, and she’ll tell you as much. But when it comes to her body physically, for much of her life, she’s had difficulty.
Jul. 10, 2017
After Scoliosis Treatment, Avital Aims to Help Other Kids
After a surprising scoliosis diagnosis, Avital Harris wore a back brace for two years. Now she is sharing her story, and plans for the future.
Jun. 23, 2017
“The Kid’s a Maniac” – Jeffrey the Marathoner
After Jeffrey received an intrathecal baclofen pump at Gillette, his world opened up. He inspired his dad to become a marathon runner and even became an official "marathon maniac" in his own right.
Jun. 15, 2017
Camdyn Kicks Clubfoot to the Curb
It’s delivery day. You’ve gone through all of the preparations for your newborn—from appointments and ultrasounds, to adding final touches on the nursery—and you are ready to finally meet your child. The last thing you hope for is any unexpected surprises.
Jun. 5, 2017
Transition Support Propels Aaron Myers to Independence, Adulthood and Fulfilling Employment
Aaron Myers is like any other employee at The Works children’s museum with one exception: he is diagnosed with cerebral palsy. See how Aaron's family laid the groundwork for his successful transition to adulthood—and how the Gillette Transition Clinic is providing additional support.
Mar. 20, 2017
Friends, Fun and Floor Hockey: The Full Life of Joe Carr
Joe Carr is updating his Facebook status, taking photos with his iPad, teasing his older sister, and good-naturedly ignoring his mother’s pleas to get ready for his imminent floor hockey game. Meet this busy 13-year-old with an easy smile and a powerful laugh.
Mar. 6, 2017
Caring for Karley: Growing Up After Anoxic Brain Injury
"If there is anything that I want people to understand, it’s that parents who have children who have disabilities want what any parent wants for their child."
Mar. 2, 2017
Trauma Care Partnership Saves Peyton After Brain Injury
When 16-month-old Peyton ran across the living room, slipped, and hit his head on the hardwood floor, the impact left him fighting for his life. See how a partnership between Gillette and Regions Hospital helped Peyton achieve a full recovery, and why his parents consider Gillette part of their family.
Feb. 2, 2017
Ava Approaches Rare Bone Disorder with Bravery
Ava has a rare condition called multiple hereditary exostosis, which causes boney tumors to grow throughout her body. Learn what the condition means for Ava and why she looks forward to surgeries at Gillette.
Jan. 23, 2017
Muscular Dystrophy Diagnosis Can’t Stop These Twins
Kiara and Keisy are twins who share a diagnosis of muscular dystrophy. Meet these sweet girls and learn how their parents, and Gillette, help them understand they're no different than other kids.
Jan. 18, 2017
Limb Lengthening and Perseverance Give Katelyn Momentum
“They almost didn’t notice it at first,” Karey Hall says. When her daughter Katelyn was born, her left leg was missing two toes and had an abnormal, rainbow-like bend to it. “No one at the clinic had ever seen anything quite like it before.”
Jan. 11, 2017
Patient Embarks on Quest to See 500 Bands
Mason and his father Rich saw nearly 500 rock bands live in concert last year. They refused to let Mason's cerebral palsy get in the way of reaching their goal.
Jan. 9, 2017
Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis at 80 Brings George Fedor Peace
84-year-old George Fedor is a storyteller. But the one story that George couldn’t tell had to do with one question: What is wrong with the left side of my body?
Dec. 16, 2016
Pioneering Spine Surgery at Gillette Helps Joshua Ride a Bike
Joshua, a 10-year-old who has congenital scoliosis, dreamed of one day riding a bike. Learn about the groundbreaking surgery that straightened his severely curved spine, improving his independence and giving him the opportunity for a full childhood.
Dec. 13, 2016
Walker Overcomes Craniosynostosis
When Walker's parents and pediatrician became concerned about the shape of his head, their questions led to a diagnosis of craniosynostosis. Learn how a new surgical technique eliminated the need for a blood transfusion during Walker's craniosynostosis surgery.
Nov. 15, 2016
Emmy Makes Comeback After Surgery to Remove Brain Tumor
Small, gregarious, brimming with boundless energy and a mischievous smile, 4-year-old Emmy Veenis is the type of kid people tend to remember. But Emmy started having headaches.
Nov. 11, 2016
“Facetime” With Your Doctor through Telemedicine
For children like Ava who live in greater Minnesota or outside the state, appointments at Gillette can involve hours of drive time and nights spent in a hotel. All that can add up. Meet Ava and learn how Gillette is helping families like hers by expanding its telemedicine services.
Oct. 20, 2016
A Legacy of Strength and Smiles
As a child in the 1940s, Lyn Baier traveled with her mother by bus from the family farm in southwestern Minnesota to the old Gillette building near Lake Phalen in St. Paul. She spent months away from home getting treatment for her deformed right leg.
Sep. 28, 2016
Jackson Defies Gravity with ReWalk Robotic Exoskeleton
Jackson sustained a spinal cord injury when he was 16 years old. The injury thrust Jackson, who stands a tall 6’2’’, into a new reality of life in a wheelchair. But instead of giving up, Jackson made the decision to embrace his new reality.
Sep. 21, 2016
Back to School Sleep Opens Eyes on Facebook
Gillette recently hosted a Facebook Live video Q&A featuring John Garcia, MD, sleep medicine specialist, about back-to-school sleep issues. Learn more and watch the discussion.
Sep. 15, 2016
Avery’s Story: Becoming a Back-to-School Model
Avery, a sixth grader who has cerebral palsy, recently had the opportunity to showcase some of her favorite back-to-school fashions to thousands when she modeled for the Mall of America's 2016 Back to School Look Book. Learn how the experience helped build Avery's confidence and how care at Gillette has helped her thrive.
Sep. 7, 2016
Family Speaks Out on Dangers of Drinking and Driving
As the Bodell family returned home from an afternoon of bowling, an intoxicated driver plowed into their car. Three-year-old Havana Bodell sustained a spinal cord injury. Less than a year later, the family is speaking out about the dangers of driving under the influence.
Aug. 23, 2016
Steven Koop, MD, Has Put Patients First for 30 Years
For 30 years, Steven Koop, MD, has believed that all of medicine is about "Someone who says, 'Help,' and someone in the other chair to say, 'That's my work. To help you.'"
Aug. 19, 2016
Redefining Colten’s Childhood After Mystery Illness
Colten's family thought he'd come down with the stomach flu. Then his illness became something much more severe. Learn how a Gillette pediatric neurologist and Colten’s rehabilitation team helped him reclaim his childhood.
Aug. 16, 2016
Girl Scout’s Greatest Achievement is Being a Kid
Born a micro preemie weighing less than one pound, Ava came to Gillette when she began missing milestones. See how far this active 9-year-old has come as a result of treatments informed by gait and motion analysis data.
Aug. 11, 2016
Darius’ Remarkable Journey from Lithuania to Minnesota
Darius, who spent the first six years of his life in an orphanage in the city of Vilnius, was born with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. His dad shares their adoption experience, cultural differences and talks about the support they received from Gillette along the way.
Jul. 26, 2016
Saving Ahriana After Near-Tragic Accident
"Don't think it won't happen to you," says Ahriana's mom, Cassie Sonnentag. Ahriana sustained serious injuries when a TV fell on her in a terrible accident. See how her family's quick action and care from the Level I Pediatric Trauma Center saved her life.
Jun. 8, 2016
Gillette Family Makes Field of Dreams a Reality
The Feyereisen family built a sandlot field in their backyard to inspire inclusiveness and teach kindness among their triplet sons, who have varying degrees of disabilities, and their friends. It's come to resemble a real-life "Field of Dreams."
May. 26, 2016
“My Body was Haunted” – Ali’s Recovery from Chronic Pain
Even after an injury heals, sometimes an imprint of it can remain. How this happens varies from person to person. But for some individuals, like Ali Tokkesdal, it manifests in the form of chronic pain. “I couldn’t walk. It felt like my body had turned against me, like it was haunted,” says Ali.
May. 17, 2016
Maddy’s Life Without Barriers
Maddy’s mom describes her as “a warrior” — and rightly so. Maddy has spina bifida. But she also has much more: extraordinary compassion, a keen sense of humor, and a vibrant personality. Meet Maddy and learn why she’s excited to represent Gillette during the Walk & Roll 3K on June 18, 2016.
Apr. 26, 2016
Hunter Overcomes Bullying with a Little Help from His Friends
When Stacy Soman’s son Hunter started being bullied consistently last year, this question came up more and more. “When your kid starts coming home with bruises, it’s hard not to say: ‘You know what, maybe you should hit back, and they’ll leave you alone.’ Many children would take that advice, but not Hunter."
Apr. 15, 2016
International Cerebral Palsy Patient Finds Help at Gillette
A Venezuelan mother's prayers are answered as her daughter receives treatment for cerebral palsy at Gillette. “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,” she writes.
Mar. 3, 2016