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Celebrating Gillette Day at the Minnesota Capitol

“I want lawmakers to know that their conversations surrounding health care have an impact on real Minnesota kids and families, like mine. I’m excited to join with other Gillette families to raise our voices and connect with decision-makers. There’s power in numbers.” 

-Melissa Zeleny, mom of Hayden Zeleny, 12, a Gillette patient


Melissa and Hayden Zeleny, 12, will be among dozens of Gillette families participating in Capitol Day on April 25. Health care has been in the news a lot lately. But the voices of kids who have complex conditions are often missing from the discussions. On April 25, Melissa and Hayden Zeleny, along with dozens of Gillette families, will aim to change that when they gather at the Minnesota State Capitol rotunda. Gillette Day at the Capitol will kick off the celebration of our 120th birthday.

The timing of Gillette Day at the Capitol isn’t coincidental. 120 years ago, on April 23, 1897, the Minnesota Legislature established Gillette as the nation’s first hospital specializing in care for children who have complex medical conditions. You might even call the Minnesota State Capitol our birthplace.

“We’re only a few blocks east of the Minnesota State Capitol and April 25 is a time for the voices of Gillette families to be heard. We want to thank lawmakers for their support, which started in 1897 with our founding, and provide lawmakers with an opportunity to hear directly from their constituents,” says Marnie Falk, director of government relations and advocacy for Gillette.

Unlike most Minnesota health care systems, Gillette has a statewide reach. We have a main campus in St. Paul, four Twin Cities clinics, and outreach locations throughout greater Minnesota.  Gillette patients come from all 87 Minnesota counties, and thanks to legislation that was signed into law in 2015, we’re expanding our telemedicine services to save time, money and stress for families around the state.

“Advocating for our families is important to us. Often this means working closely with lawmakers and Gillette families to engage in policy discussions and active advocacy efforts,” says Falk.  “Gillette Day at the Capitol is a strong example of advocacy in action.”Gillette will kick-off its 120th birthday celebration at the Minnesota State Capitol.

Gillette Day at the Capitol is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 25. We’ll rally, celebrate and hear from families about the impact Gillette has made on their lives. Afterward we’ll gather for pizza and birthday cake to mark our 120th anniversary. Gillette Day at the Capitol provides lawmakers with the opportunity to learn why Gillette is a vital resource for children and families in our state.  We hope they’ll keep our patients’ stories in mind as they craft health care policy and make key decisions in the year ahead.  

If you’re interested in joining us at Gillette Day at the Capitol please email