Monthly Archives: June 2012
Win-It Wednesday: Everyone meet “Share Bear” the newest addition to our Facebok page. Want to win a Share Bear? Tell us why you think it’s important to CurePity below and we’ll choose a winner at random!
When Tyler Schell, then 2 years old, fell off of his trike and broke his arm, his parents, Chris and Alison Schell, found it unusual. “It wasn’t a major fall, so I was surprised by the break,” says Chris. Then, just one year later, Tyler broke both of his arms within a week. “At that point we knew something was very wrong,” Chris explains.
Tyler was referred to Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare and Dr. Ann Van Heest, a physician who specializes in upper extremities. The family also began genetic testing, with startling results: Tyler had osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), a rare bone disorder that occurs in less than 0.01% of the population. In fact, Chris says that only 150 people in the family’s native Australia have the condition.
Today, Tyler sees 10 different physicians at Gillette, depending on the area of his body that needs care. He also receives experimental treatments that have helped reduce his fracture rate. In addition to his Gillette team, Tyler sees one of the world’s top OI specialists in Sydney, Australia.
Although Tyler has broken more than 20 bones in his young life, he remains a happy, charming and outgoing little boy. “Tyler can win people over in a very positive way,” says Chris with a smile.
The Schells acknowledge the helplessness and unpredictability that come with Tyler’s condition. “Whether tripping on the rug or falling on the playground — we never know when the next break will be,” Chris says. But they’ve made sure he has the opportunity to be like any other kid. “Tyler knows he’s a kid who has OI — not the other way around.”
Today, meet Cassandra Bjork, R.D., L.D., a Clinical Dietician at Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. You may recognize Cassie from her “Fast Food and Healthy Eating” video that provided healthy on-the-go eating tips. In case you missed it, watch and ‘share’ the video link below. If you have any additional questions for Cassie please comment below!
Q. What are some of your hobbies outside work?
A. Anything active and/or adventurous! I like to rollerblade, paddleboard, run marathons (just did Grandma’s Marathon on June 17th!) and tried skydiving last month (and succeeded!) Any kids or pets? Not at the moment, but hopefully both someday J
Q As a child, which superhero did you admire?
A. I always admired Ariel from The Little Mermaid for paving her own route and always being true to herself, even if it meant going against the choices others wanted her to make.
Q. Do you have favorite food?
A. My favorite food is peanut butter. I always keep peanut butter packets in my purse and a jar in my trunk for emergency snacks.
Q. If you could travel anywhere where would you go?
A. I would go back to Switzerland, and spend some quality time hiking through the mountains. I spent the month of October 2011 backpacking through Europe, and of the 4 countries I trekked across, Switzerland was my favorite.
Q. What was your favorite subject in school?
A. I loved math and writing.
Q. Do you have a favorite musician/band/type of music?
A. Christian music is my favorite because it is so uplifting and always brings hope and positivity to my day.
Q. Who did you admire when you were a kid?
A. I admired Mother Teresa for her generosity and Jesus for his sacrifice.
Q. Do you have a favorite story/memory from Gillette?
A. My favorite memories are all moments when it seemed as if a light-switch went off in the head of the person I was teaching a nutrition concept to. I love when it makes sense and becomes something personal and achievable!
Q. What do you enjoy most about your job at Gillette?
A. I love showing people how making small changes can give big results! Whether it’s adding in some healthy fats at meals, incorporating a bit of exercise or making sure to always have healthy snacks on hand, these small things can have a big impact on every day life!
Win-It Wednesday: Do you recognize this place at Gillette? Leave a comment with your best guess and we’ll choose someone at random to receive an “I Love Gillette” t-shirt! Remember, you must comment below for a chance to win!
Win-It Wednesday: Do you recognize this hometown hero? Leave a comment with your best guess and we’ll choose someone at random to receive an “I Love Gillette” t-shirt! Remember, you must comment below for a chance to win!
Dream Night is a private event that invites children with special healthcare needs and disabilities along with their immediate families to spend a cost free evening at The Minnesota Zoo. Thank you to everyone that attended and posted their photo on our Facebook Wall. We wanted to pass on a photo collage of the photos that we received.
Lexi is a bright and bubbly 7-year-old who loves to paint, color and play games on the computer. But there is one major difference between Lexi and other children: she does these things, and much more, using her feet. Lexi is part of our CurePity campaign. Why pledge to CurePity? Because, children who have disabilities don’t need pity. They need hope. They need expert medical care. And they need a world that gives them a chance. In short, they need people like you. Watch Lexi’s CurePity commercial, sign the pledge, and read more about Lexi’s story below.
She Nearly Died At Birth
Lexi was born with a severe form of arthrogryposis, a conditon that caused her joints to contract in-utero. Her intestines outside of her body, her arms and legs immobile, doctors told Lexi’s mother, Jamie, that Lexi would likely die from the rare disorder. “It was the most terrifying experience of my life,” recalls Jamie of the months Lexi spent hospitalized nearly four hours from her western Minnesota home.
Local doctors gave Lexi a similarly bleak prognosis as she strived for independence. “They told her, ‘you will never walk,’ and she said ‘I will walk!’” remember Jamie. “She made up her mind to prove everyone wrong.”
Her Feet Became a Lifeline
Her arms limp and useless, her legs stiff and unbendable, Lexi’s limbs pose major limitations. But one part of Lexi’s body remains unaffected by her conditon. By flexing her feet and wriggling her toes, Lexi found an extraordinary—and effective—way to interact with the world around her. Her feet can adeptly maneuver markers, crayons, even utensils, the same way most children use their hands.
“She was six months old when I noticed her use her feet for something,” recalls Jamie, who says few things about her fiercely independent daughter surprise her anymore. “You can’t tell her something is impossible. She simply won’t listen.”
Lexi certainly didn’t listen to the doctor who doubted her ability to walk. Two years ago, inspired by her nimble feet, Lexi began taking cautious first steps. Today, she walks freely around her home and uses a powerchair for longer distances. “I showed him!” says Lexi of the doctor who called it impossible.
Giving Lexi the Tools to Succeed
As Lexi prepared to enter kindergarten, her family grew concerned that she might fall behind her peers. Though advanced intellectually and socially, Lexi would be unable to write, type, or use a computer by traditonal means.
They turned to Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare’s assistive technology team—where Lexi also receives orthopedic and pediatric rehabilitation medicine services—to custom-fit a special keyboard and mouse to Lexi’s powerchair that she can operate using her feet.
“Because of Gillette, Lexi has everything she needs to remain at the top of her class,” says Jamie. “She knows there’s nothing she can’t accomplish!”
Win-It Wednesday Where would you find this seahorse at Gillette? ? Leave a comment on our blog (www.mygillette.org) with your best guess and we’ll choose someone at random to receive an “I Love Gillette” t-shirt!
Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare is now ranked 12th in the nation for pediatric orthopedics and 39th in the nation for pediatric neurology/neurosurgery in U.S. News Media Group’s 2012-2013 Best Children’s Hospitals rankings. Last year, Gillette ranked 25th and 44th in the two areas.
Gillette occupies the largest market share among Twin Cities hospitals for pediatric orthopedics, and has one of the highest concentrations of pediatric orthopedic surgeons in the nation. Its Center for Pediatric Orthopedics is the largest such program in the five-state region. In addition, each year Gillette neurosurgeons perform more surgeries for children whose spasticity (muscle tightness) impacts their movement than any other hospital in the five-state region.
“There are many reasons we moved higher on this prestigious list, including our low incidence of surgical site infections—especially given the high volume of surgeries performed here,” said Gillette President and CEO Margaret Perryman. “U.S. News has increasingly focused on patient safety initiatives as a key component in its ranking methodology.”
The Best Children’s Hospitals rankings recognize the top 50 children’s hospitals in 10 specialties: cancer; cardiology and heart surgery; diabetes and endocrinology; gastroenterology; neonatology; nephrology; neurology and neurosurgery; orthopedics; pulmonology; and urology. Seventy-six hospitals are ranked in at least one specialty. This is the fourth consecutive year Gillette has been ranked in orthopedics, and the second it has ranked in neurology/neurosurgery.
This year, U.S. News surveyed 178 pediatric centers to obtain hard data such as availability of key resources and ability to prevent complications and infections. The hospital survey made up 75 percent of the rankings. A separate reputational survey in which 1,500 pediatric specialists—150 in each specialty—were asked where they would send the sickest children in their specialty made up the remaining 25 percent.
The full rankings and methodology will be available June 5, 2012, at www.usnews.com/childrenshospitals. The rankings will also be published in the U.S. News Best Hospitals 2013 guidebook, which will be available in August.