U of M senior raises funds for cystic fibrosis research
University of Minnesota senior Nikolas Job wrapped up his academic year as a communications major and is beginning his third straight summer internship at a company he hopes to work for one day.
Hill-Rom, a medical technology firm, makes the chest-compression vest Job has used since childhood to manage his cystic fibrosis (CF). Not only has the company offered Job the chance to work in marketing, but it often sends him to speak to groups of physicians, nurses, and others about its products and his personal experience.
“When I graduate, I hope to get a job at Hill-Rom. They seem to like me,” he says modestly. What’s not to like? Job is not only affable and charming but a one-man fundraising powerhouse.
Six years ago, when Job was just 15 years old and played goalie for his Minnetonka High School hockey team, he and his father contacted artist Todd Miska to design two helmets — one for Job and one for a silent auction, raising $3,000 for CF research.
Since then the family has commissioned a new helmet design every year, raising about $50,000. It also hosted a golf tournament last summer that brought in $10,000, and the family plans to host another.
The funds raised through the Nikolas Job Foundation go to the University to support research and help CF families in need. “The U does remarkable research,” says Job. “The doctors work hard to find drugs to benefit everyone with CF.”
Job was diagnosed with CF at 6 months old and has received care at the Minnesota Cystic Fibrosis Center at the University ever since. “I always recommend that anyone with CF in Minnesota go to the U,” he says. “Everyone with CF should have doctors who care about them.”
On a recent trip to Costa Rica, Job saw firsthand that top-notch care isn’t available everywhere. He met a girl with CF who was nearly his age but looked about 12 and weighed less than 100 pounds. “Hopefully, the vests and medicines will help,” says Job, who represented Hill-Rom, distributing vests and $5 million worth of medicine.
Like many pediatric patients before him at the University, Job has transitioned to the U’s adult CF clinic. “The pediatric team does a great job of getting patients ready to make that leap,” says LyNette Rasmussen, his nurse practitioner. She adds that the two teams meet weekly to review patients, “so we’ve heard about these kids long before they come to the adult team, and that facilitates transition.”
Regarding Job, she says, “Nikolas is an energetic college student. I love seeing him — it’s exciting to keep track of where life is taking him.”
Next year, life will take Job to Denmark, where he’ll attend his father’s former college. Then, after one more year of college, he hopes to begin his marketing career in earnest. No doubt he’ll be making an impact on CF research wherever he lands.