Gillette — Special Care for Special Needs

Local children’s hospital celebrates 120 years in April

Minnesota nonprofit accounting client

When Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare opened in 1897, its mission was to care for children in Minnesota with disabilities. This month, the healthcare organization celebrates 120 years of helping children with medical issues live a full life.

In keeping with its mission to serve those with special needs, the organization focuses specifically on complex medical conditions that affect a child’s neurological, skeletal and muscular systems.

“We’re a children’s hospital but really specialized,” said Nick Hanson, media relations specialist.

Gillette helps more than 25,000 patients every year. Their patients typically suffer with disabilities related to cerebral palsy, epilepsy, brain and spinal cord injuries, juvenile arthritis, spina bifida, neuromuscular conditions, and more.

“Our ultimate goal is that these kids are just like anybody else and we want to help them just be kids and live their life,” Hanson said. “It’s really neat to see how far they can go.”

He said it’s especially rewarding to see a child communicate with his or her parents for the first time or learn to walk for the first time. The assistive devices they receive through Gillette helps them move beyond their disabilities and discover that they CAN.

Gillette has been at the forefront of numerous medical advances over the past century. For example, the hospital was one of 12 in the nation to test a pump designed to treat spasticity in children with cerebral palsy in the late 1990s, and in 2000 the hospital received FDA approval for its Gillette CranioCap for infants with misshapen heads.

In honor of its 120th anniversary, Gillette Children’s will kick off its celebration on Tuesday, April 25 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Minnesota State Capitol. The event features kid-friendly activities, lunch, chance to meet with legislators and a Gillette t-shirt. To RSVP, contact Kelly Blodgett at 651-310-1810.

It all started when orthopedic surgeon Dr. Arthur Gillette and a Carleton College student with spinal issues lobbied the Minnesota State Legislature to sponsor a hospital dedicated to helping local children with disabilities.

The state obliged, putting Gillette in charge of the nation’s first such initiative. Gillette’s first patient was a young boy with tuberculosis, a common cause of childhood disabilities at the time. Gillette treated more than 4,100 patients before his death in 1921.

“It’s pretty special looking back, but there’s a lot of great things looking forward too,” Hanson said.

The St. Paul-based organization has been a self-sufficient nonprofit since 1975 and currently operates several satellite locations throughout Minnesota. Last year, Gillette Children’s served patients from 40 states and 12 countries.

Boyer & Associates helped Gillette Children’s Hospital implement Microsoft Dynamics GP financials, Healthcare Materials Management and SSRS reports. We are proud to support this organization’s financial management software needs.