January 4, 2023

Neli’s story: A fighting spirit through journey with cancer and heart transplant  
When 3-year-old Neli Sanchez first arrived at Children’s Minnesota with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a cancer that affects the bone marrow, neither her family or doctors expected this would be the start of a life-long relationship. Special bonds with her care team and patient advocate Patty Santos made Neli’s Spanish-speaking family feel assured they were in good hands.

Young Neli was treated with chemotherapy and radiation, experienced multiple relapses and then was diagnosed with a second type leukemia. Years of chemotherapy weakened Neli’s heart so much that when she contracted COVID-19 in 2020, her vulnerable heart needed to be transplanted. The wait for a donor heart took more than a year and Neli’s health continued to decline. But the fighting spirit of then 15-year-old Neli persevered once again and she received her new heart. 

Today Neli is 16 years old and living like a typical teenager. Her fighting spirit and the resiliency of Neli and her family are inspiring. Read more about Neli’s story here.  
Hudson’s story: Two-year-old experiencing 50 seizures a day finds relief through surgery 
Dr. Meysam Kebriaei, medical director of the neurosurgery program at Children’s Minnesota, talked with the KSTP news team about the open resection craniotomy the epilepsy team performed that left Hudson seizure-free. Read and watch the story here
Weeding through the facts about teens and cannabis
Many elected leaders and medical experts agree there are good reasons to legalize cannabis, including that the use of marijuana is a public health concern for which criminalization isn’t the appropriate response. However, legalizing cannabis products makes them more widely available to adolescents and young adults, raising serious health concerns for this population.

In the Talking Pediatrics episode, “In the Weeds: What You Need to Know About Teens and Cannabis,” host Dr. Angela Kade Goepferd talks with Dr. Sarah Polley, medical director of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s national substance use and mental health treatment center for adolescents and young adults. This important conversation explores the cannabis products teens are using, how they impact developing brains and how to intervene as a parent or caregiver. 

Read the full article or listen to the podcast here
Talking Pediatrics podcast wins platinum eHealthcare award 
Children’s Minnesota’s weekly clinical pediatric podcast, Talking Pediatrics, has won a platinum 2022 eHealthcare Leadership Award in the Best Digital Physician Engagement category. The Award recognizes the best websites and digital communications of health care organizations and the role they play in achieving business objectives.

Launched in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, Talking Pediatrics began as an innovative way to expand Children’s Minnesota’s educational programming when in-person events were limited or nonexistent. It is designed to provide information on relevant pediatric topics, including mental health, clinical guidelines, equity and inclusion and more.

Listen to some of the most popular episodes: 
Resources for Respiratory Illness
Respiratory illnesses like RSV and influenza are circulating early this season. Here are some helpful resources:

Podcast: Bronchiolitis updates
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Listen to the previously recorded Talking Pediatrics, "Weight stigma"
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