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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 a marathon is 2:03:59, a 4:43 minute per mile average for 26.2 miles. The Wayzata team attempted to break this daunting record in relay-fashion by running 26 one-mile legs and a .2 mile leg together at the end around a track.
The team dedicated the race to the two fathers of runners on the team who have battled cancer and the team raised money from members of the community to support them. The runners ended up coming a minute and a half short of the record, but all was not lost as the community was very supportive of the cause and was very willing to donate.
The Wayzata High School Track team was able to raise $7,000 for cancer research from this event and they hope that this can help make great strides in the battle against cancer.
This post was submitted by Valerie Eggers, Development Associate, Department of Development
Bonnie Lenz, a patient at Mayo Clinic shares her story of the cosmetic side effects chemotherapy and radiation had on her personal appearance and the positive impact the Mayo Clinic Erickson Hair and Skin Care Center and the Look Good…Feel Better program made during her treatment.
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 display on top of Mayo Clinic Hospital in Arizona. It uses perforated film allowing LED lights to shine through it creating a white illuminated letter at night. During the day, only the blue film color is visible, displaying blue letters.
However, the sign in Florida had to meet one criteria that wasn't necessary in Arizona: it had to withstand 120-mph wind loads in case of a hurricane. It also had to be visible from a mile away. To test the legibility of the letters at that distance, full size test banner letters were temporarily mounted and checked from one of the significant distance points – the San Pablo Bridge.
The original mark on the Davis Building displayed “Mayo” for about 10 years. It was removed about two years ago while a new solution was designed.
This article was submitted by Kathy Barbour, Public Affairs communication consultant in Mayo Clinic in Florida.