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When Tammi Cummings learned that her sister, Terri McMillan, needed a kidney transplant after a 40-year history of diabetes finally took its toll on her health, she never hesitated for a second about the idea of providing one of her own kidneys.
Cummings, 52, of West Melbourne, Fla., not only gave her sister a renewed lease on life by donating one of her kidneys, but she has shown that doing so wasn’t a major physical disruption in her life. In fact, just two weeks after donating her kidney, she participated in a 5K walk called the “National Kidney Foundation Footprints in the Sand Walk” at the Cocoa Beach Pier.
“My doctors told me to start walking to help speed up my recovery, so that’s exactly what I did,” says Cummings. “The short-term discomfort of donating my kidney was nothing compared to the reward of knowing that I was able to help my sister, who was suffering from kidney disease.”
It hasn't been an easy path for Ashley Jagodzinski. To say the least. So you'll pardon Ashley and her mom (Mayo employee Erin Jagodzinski) if they're a touch enthusiastic about Ashley officially starting her college career this fall.
A few things conspired to stop Ashley from getting to this point. Three open-heart surgeries by age 12 (the first, at just 6 months of age). Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. A stroke. A brain hemorrhage. Seizures. And, astoundingly, and sadly, bullies who picked on Ashley for missing school when her physical difficulties took a toll.
Ashley and her family turned to Mayo Clinic often during those years. And at age 17, after suffering a stroke, seizures and a brain hemorrhage, Ashley and her family moved to Rochester to be closer to Mayo.
It's a rare teenager who puts in overtime. Kelsey O'Leary is that teen.
At age 12, Kelsey was diagnosed with scoliosis and fitted with a brace by Mayo Clinic physicians. The Rochester, Minn., girl wore the brace day and night — logging more than the recommended hours — for three years.
Kelsey, now 17, and her parents, Amaria Najem O'Leary and Patrick O'Leary, credit her perseverance with a remarkable outcome. After three years of bracing, the curvature of Kelsey's spine was improved — an unusual result for a treatment that is designed to keep spinal curvature from worsening.
"I was really surprised and happy about that," says Kelsey, a theater and arts aficionado. "I was always told that bracing doesn't cure scoliosis, but it did actually improve the curvature of my spine, which is very rare."
[Editor's Note: Following is an article by Mary I. O'Connor, M.D., chair of the Department of Orthopedics at Mayo Clinic in Florida, sharing her perspective on how gender affects the care of women today.]
Should a woman have a female doctor? As a woman and an orthopedic surgeon, I am sometimes asked that question. While some women may be more comfortable discussing intimate matters related to sexual and reproductive health with a woman physician, a general assumption is that the care provided to patients by physicians is not influenced by gender. Unfortunately, data suggests that women do not always receive the same care as men.
This is not a simple issue. There are many factors that influence the patient-physician interaction and relationship. But the factor that may be the most powerful may be one we know surprisingly little about in the health care setting: unconscious bias. Unconscious bias may be the reason women receive fewer kidney transplants and heart surgeries. It may be so powerful that it even influences the care provided to children. A 2011 study by Butani and Perez showed girls are 22 percent less likely to be placed on a kidney transplant list than boys. Because an earlier transplant equates to better health, this gender disparity likely impacts the long-term outcome of these young women.
When Richard Oppelt of Melbourne, Fla., became the first lung-transplant program patient at Mayo Clinic in Florida in June 2001, he never thought that 12 years later he’d be helping someone else with the same situation deal with his recovery. But that’s exactly what Oppelt did in Dec. 2012 when he heard John McGill, a friend of 20 years, needed someone to provide some caregiver support after his double-lung transplant surgery.
McGill was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, a disease that affects breathing and absorption of oxygen by the lungs, on Dec. 5, 2012. Oppelt, who knew McGill through working in the construction industry in Melbourne, became aware of McGill’s diagnosis through co-workers. Having gone through the same procedure, Oppelt felt inclined to offer his help.
This past June, the Wayzata High School Track team organized a fundraiser in support of the Mayo Clinic, and in particular to raise money for their work in cancer research. There are two fathers of runners on the team who have battled cancer and have been treated at the Mayo Clinic and the team wanted to support them and people in similar situations to them by conducting a fundraiser.
The choice of fundraiser: a potentially world-record-breaking relay-marathon. The world record for one man to run [...]
On July 10, the Florida campus unveiled a new sign viewable from a mile away. The new mark on the Davis Building prominently displays “Mayo Clinic” day and night to those traveling the busy highway to and from the coastal communities.
And, it’s not just a standard sign with letters on a building – it’s an aluminum and screen wall 18 feet high and spanning 90 feet between two elevator penthouses. It was built in four panels anchored through the roof and tied to the structural steel. The panels were each raised and lowered into place by a helicopter.
The technology is similar to the [...]
It was a beautiful day in this neighborhood.
Mr. McFeely, the beloved delivery man of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” visited Mayo Clinic on June 16.
Wearing his signature “Speedy Delivery” suit, actor David Newell, who plays Mr. McFeely, sang classic Mister Rogers’ songs with puppets “King Friday” and “Daniel Tiger” in the Gonda building atrium.
Newell was in Rochester as part of a visit arranged by KSMQ Public Television. During his visits to the Gonda building, Mayo Eugenio Litta Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House, Newell collected sweaters as part of the Mister Rogers' Neighborhood Sweater Drive. All collected sweaters were donated to the Rochester Salvation Army.
Here’s a video of Newell performing in the Gonda building:
This post was submitted by Lauren Rothering, a summer intern in the Mayo [...]
In this short interview, Beth P., a two-time breast cancer survivor, talks about her battle with the dreaded disease, her experience at Mayo Clinic and her unique role with the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure-Minnesota Affiliate.
On Sunday, May 9, Beth will volunteer for her 14th Race for the Cure event since 1996. For more information on the Race for the Cure, visit the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Web site or share your own story (and read a number of others) on the Together for the Cure blog.