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2016: Photos That Defined Our Year

From life-saving kidney donations to charitable work from all-star athletes, these are the photos and the stories that defined our year at University of Minnesota Health.
We recap our favorite images and stories from 2016.

Life-saving kidney donations, charitable work from all-star athletes and a new lease on life — these are the photos and their stories from a year with University of Minnesota Health.

Every day, the patients and care providers who walk our halls demonstrate selflessness, sacrifice and courage in the face of life-altering diagnoses and complex medical conditions. We do our best to share some of these stories with you—with the hope that they will inspire awareness and compassion.

Below are the photos that have defined our year at University of Minnesota Health.

 Rudy’s Red Eye Express heads to North Pole
A leader on the field and in the community, Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph has become a staple at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital. In December, Kyle demonstrated his commitment by bringing 30 of our young patients and their families on a trip to the “North Pole,” where they met Santa, held a dance party with his elves and participated in other holiday activities. But that’s not all. Rudolph and his wife are also supporting the development of “Kyle Rudolph’s End Zone.” When finished, the 2,500-square-foot space will give children and teens a place to laugh and relax.

 Organ donation changes lives of college roommates
This year, we shared the story of former roommates Chelsey Larson and Ellen Rorman. After learning that Rorman suffered from kidney failure, Larson chose to donate of her kidneys to her classmate. The decision changed their lives forever. Rorman’s health has drastically improved since the transplant, and Larson chose to become an organ donor advocate after the experience. “It really has given me a future,” Rorman said.

 Clinics and Surgery Center transforms care
In February, our new state-of-the-art Clinics and Surgery Center opened its doors—and promptly received accolades for its design and ground-breaking approach to outpatient care. The 342,000-square-foot facility houses 37 medical specialties and 30 clinics. The new facility was built on the twin principles of accessibility and innovation. Its opening gave us an unprecedented opportunity to re-imagine the care experience for our patients.

 Imani and her doctor share healing moment
During her difficult treatment for myelodysplastic syndrome, teenager Imani Cornelius and her doctor struck a deal: When she was healthy, they would celebrate by kayaking together. Jakub Tolar, MD, kept his promise this summer; he and Imani set out on the Mississippi River from a landing within sight of University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, where Imani received treatment.

 Quinn Seymour Chapel opens at children’s hospital
After four years, the Seymour family’s dream to build a non-denominational chapel at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital is finally a reality. Designed for inclusivity and named for Quinn Seymour, an epidermolysis bullosa patient at the hospital, the chapel is a quiet space for prayer and reflection.

 Nolan Wooten bounces back
When infant Nolan Wooten was diagnosed with a rare heart defect, he and his family turned to the Pediatric Heart Center at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital for help. Saddled with the stress of a sick newborn, the Wootens found the compassion and care they needed at our hospital.

 Ray Hunke experiences a turnaround
Ray Hunke had six months to live—or so he thought. After moving back to Minnesota with a grim prognosis, Ray came to University of Minnesota Health. With us, he found a new, more optimistic outlook and leading-edge heart care. Today, Ray is alive and well. He enjoys giving back to the same hospital that turned his life around.

 Collaboration saves Atsede Engidasew
“Those doctors are a miracle. They gave me a chance to be alive, and I am back,” said Atsede Engidasew, who suffered a pulmonary embolism shortly after giving birth to her daughter and went into cardiac arrest. Thanks to a pre-existing partnership between three hospitals, doctors were able to put together an outside-of-the-box solution to respond quickly and save Atsede’s life.

 Perspectives photo project offers beautiful window into life with severe illness
From photography, healing. A photography exhibit at University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital this year shared a beautiful, authentic view into the lives of six patients with severe or chronic illness. Provided with cameras and photography training, six families documented nine months of their healthcare journey, shooting more than 7,000 photos in all. The groundbreaking project made headlines across the state.