On any given day, the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital treats as many as 50 babies, all of whom were born preterm or have other serious health issues. It can take weeks, or even months, for these babies to become healthy enough to go home—which means that parents often must return to work or go home to be with their other children, leaving their sick babies in the hospital.
Discover what’s possible. Browse these features to find out more about the impact of University of Minnesota research, education, and care—and how you can help.
Five years ago, Brian and Annette Call were looking for a fun night out when they attended their first Winefest—A Toast to Children’s Health, an event that benefits children’s health research, education, and care at the University of Minnesota. They did not expect the evening to be life changing.
A simple blood test, in conjunction with a flu diagnosis, was a blessing in disguise for 5-year-old Ethan Fisher. Fortunately, the hematologist who followed up on Ethan’s low platelet count recognized the possibility of a Fanconi anemia (FA) diagnosis and ordered tests. Sure enough, despite the rarity of this hereditary anemia, Ethan had it—meaning he would need regular blood tests and, eventually, a bone marrow transplant.
Back in 2010, Sarah Ewald was a high school senior and alpine skier. When she noticed a bump on her foot, she assumed it was a sports injury. But at the close of ski season, she visited a physician to determine why the bump wouldn’t go away. Her doctor diagnosed alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare and aggressive sarcoma that only affects one in one million children and adolescents. Sarah began chemotherapy the week after diagnosis. That August, surgery removed her spleen and half of her pancreas, where the cancer had spread. Radiation and more chemo followed.
Most University of Minnesota pediatric patient stories have a similar start: Parents discover a medical issue and find their way to University of Minnesota Children’s Hospital. Not so with Lexi and Austin Jensen, each born with only one partially functioning kidney. First, they arrived at the U of M Children’s Hospital—one of the world’s leading kidney transplant centers—and then they found their parents.
Sameer Gupta, M.D., has a passion for tending to sick kids. A critical care physician at University of Minnesota Children's Hospital, Gupta deals with tough situations every day, fighting diseases that have brought youngsters into the hospital--the scariest of places for worried parents. But what those parents don't see is how hard Gupta works behind the scenes to prevent already sick kids from getting sicker--from what medical professionals call "hospital-acquired conditions."
University of Minnesota pediatric physicians and researchers are illuminating discovery, fostering hope and healing for children and their families when they need it most. Join us to celebrate U of M advances in children's health at WineFest No. 19--A Toast to Children's Health on May 9 and 10 at the Depot in Minneapolis.
Previously discarded as medical waste, blood gathered from the placenta and umbilical cord after childbirth holds potential for treating deadly and debilitating diseases. Now, as more centers are beginning to collect and bank this valuable blood, University of Minnesota researchers and clinicians are at the forefront of developing its promise.
As partnerships go, this one's a slam dunk. It began with a $100,000 gift last summer from Sport Ngin to build the Sport Ngin Sport Court alongside the Sullivan Playground on the front lawn of University of Minnesota Children's Hospital. Today, Sport Ngin employees are so fired up about the Sport Court and what it might mean for young patients that they're making a full-court press to host a monthly basketball tournament there.
Camie and Jack Eugster believe that children deserve a comfortable environment when they’re sick that can cheer them up. That’s why, through their family foundation, the Eugsters sponsored an Adopt A Room on the hospital’s blood and marrow transplant unit—to brighten the days of children who typically face long hospital stays.
When Marc and Mandy Seymour brought their infant daughter, Quinn, across the country to University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital to be part of a groundbreaking clinical trial aimed at curing her devastating skin disease, the hospital did not yet have an on-site chapel. Today the Seymours are honoring Quinn’s memory—and providing a place of peace and hope for others—by raising $500,000 to build a chapel at Amplatz.
The right timing can make all the difference. And where children's brain development is concerned, University of Minnesota researchers are finding that particularly important. "The earlier you intervene, the bigger impact you can have," says Michael Georgieff, M.D., director of the University's Center for Neurobehavioral Development and a neonatologist at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital. "You're laying the foundation for a healthy adult mental life."
The young cancer patients at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital who lose their hair after chemotherapy now have a stylish way to keep their heads warm. Thanks to the organization Love Your Melon, more than 800 cozy winter hats and baseball caps have been given to children at Amplatz.
Through music, Zach Sobiech said goodbye to his loved ones. And in the process, the Stillwater teenager's YouTube music video for his song "Clouds" touched people around the world. Though Sobiech died of osteosarcoma, an aggressive type of bone cancer, on May 20 at age 18, his legacy extends far past millions of YouTube views. The Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund, created by Zach and his family through Children's Cancer Research Fund, exclusively benefits research at the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota that is focused on understanding the causes of osteosarcoma and developing new therapies for it.
He has toured 47 states and 23 countries to increase awareness of cystic fibrosis, and he gets hugs everywhere he goes. This furry advocate is Burke P. Bear, a cuddly teddy bear named in honor of Burke P. Derr, who died two days before his 19th birthday in 1997 from complications of CF. Today Burke's memory lives on through the work of his father, Bob Derr, for Pennsylvania Cystic Fibrosis, Inc., and the researchers it supports, including Antoinette Moran, M.D., at the University of Minnesota.
Not many 2-year-olds spend the majority of their days in the hospital, running down the halls while their parents chase after them with IV drip bags.
For the young Taylor Hoff, this was a reality. He could rest his chin on the baseball-sized tumor on his collarbone caused by a rare condition called hemangioendothelioma.
But thanks to the quick thinking of his doctors, today Hoff is a healthy college student pursuing a career in medicine and volunteering in a research lab at the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota.
Physicians know delivering bad news is part of the job. But a diagnosis of epidermolysis bullosa (EB) can be “terrifying,” says University of Minnesota pediatric oncologist Jakub Tolar, M.D., Ph.D. EB causes the skin to slough off at the slightest touch. Wounds don’t heal, fingers fuse together, and eventually patients are unable to eat and are wheelchair bound.
It’s Tuesday and 4-year-old Addison Brynteson has just finished her weekly medical checkup. Next stop: “Anywhere with French fries and chicken strips,” jokes her dad, Joe. Last fall, this lively preschooler was diagnosed with severe aplastic anemia, a rare condition that prevents normal blood-cell production.
Grace O’Masta has come a long way from the devastating day in spring 2008 when her parents were told their month-old daughter likely wouldn’t survive the night. Born with an enlarged and weakened heart that wasn’t capable of pumping enough blood on its own, the Eagan, Minn., girl was living at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital, hooked up to the Berlin Heart—a then-experimental ventricular assist device— and on the waiting list for a transplant.
They knew some of their ideas would raise eyebrows. But the clinicians who got together two years ago to plan renovations for the two-floor Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Intensive Treatment Center at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital felt that a big change just might make a big difference for kids.
John and Nancy Lindahl are two of the University of Minnesota’s biggest cheerleaders. Together the two alumni successfully led a $90 million fundraising campaign for TCF Bank Stadium. Nancy also is a member of the University of Minnesota Foundation Board of Trustees, while John serves on its heart fundraising advisory committee. And through their many connections to the University over the years, they’ve only grown to appreciate it more.
One of the most important steps in pushing medical science ahead is funding talented, young researchers who bring new ideas and approaches to solving health problems. That's the thinking behind the University Pediatrics Scholars Award, which has been given annually since 1990 to at least one promising pediatrician-researcher who's getting a fledgling lab up and running.
Zach Sobiech is practically a rock star. With just months to live, the 17-year-old teen from Stillwater, Minn., started writing songs to say goodbye to his family and friends. He never expected that his songs would make him world-famous. On Saturday, February 16, Zach and his friends will perform at a sold-out benefit concert at the iconic Varsity Theater in Minneapolis. Ticket sales will benefit the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund through Children's Cancer Research Fund in support of leading-edge research at the University of Minnesota.
John A. Sullivan, center for the Minnesota Vikings, is donating $150,000 to make a new University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital playground possible. To support the project, Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway has donated $25,000 through his Lead the Way Foundation, and the Minnesota Vikings have contributed the remaining $25,000 necessary for the $200,000 project. Sullivan announced his support at a dedication ceremony on October 30.
At 16 and more than 300 pounds, Steven was in a desperate situation. His weight was taking a toll on him physically and emotionally. He suffered from sleep apnea, “excruciating” headaches, showed signs of type 2 diabetes and was depressed.
Just a few minutes of light activity left him out of breath. He became housebound, spending much of his day in his room and in bed, taking classes through a home program.
Margaret Semrud-Clikeman, Ph.D., sees the pain and frustration often when she works with children who have autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and nonverbal learning disabilities. The preteens and teens participating in her studies often blame themselves for their outbursts, peer clashes, and trouble making friends -- their difficulty in controlling their emotions in general.
Over the summer, those kids got a whole new perspective on their behavior from the functional MRI brain scans taken by Semrud-Clikeman. With that powerful glimpse inside their heads, the kids saw that their brains may be larger in key spots and "fire" differently in certain situations.
When Cara and Michael Kail left home for Fairview Southdale Hospital for the birth of their fourth child late on September 24, 2010, Michael had planned to be home the next day to take their other kids to the Children's Theatre.
But a rare and very dangerous complication caused Cara to lose consciousness during labor early the next morning, which resulted in an emergency C-section birth. At one point, neither Cara nor new baby Christopher was breathing or had a pulse.