MINNEAPOLIS — A young Vikings fan with a rare brain tumor and other patients of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital will benefit from a recent fundraising event in the Twin Cities.
Nate Lindall, of Carver shared his 11-year-old daughter Abby's story last Friday during Casting 4 Cures' spring fundraising event at The Pourhouse.
Lindall said Abby has a rare brain tumor called craniopharyngioma and underwent surgery in December at the Memphis, Tenn., hospital. Lindall said Abby periodically returns to St. Jude, which treats about 20 percent of the patients with craniopharyngioma and doesn't bill patients' families for any of its health care.
"After radiation, she's been good. The tumor has been stable," Lindall said. "It's at a real critical part in the brain where it stunts her growth, so she's got other health defects. St. Jude, outside of us not paying, they have such cutting edge technology where they're really at the forefront of therapy and research. They even help with regular quality of life, which is nice."
Lindall said Abby "loves the Vikings, artwork and creative things." He said their family appreciated Brian Robison, Phil Loadholt and Harrison Smith participating in the fundraiser led by Casting 4 Cures, a Wayzata-based organization that was inspired by the St. Jude Bass Classic that is held annually in Wabasha. The players autographed photos and memorabilia, posed for pictures and talked with fans.
Robison and Casting 4 Cures co-founder Jason Holmer are fishing buddies, and Robison said he was glad to help the cause.
"He contacted me about doing this, and I told him I was about getting it done," Robison said. "He's taken me out a bunch of times, and anytime we can get out together, we have a good time and catch a lot of fish, so this was kind of my way of telling him I appreciate it and kind of helping him out.
Robison said he's learned of the quality research and care provided by St. Jude and its commitment that families won't have to worry about paying for treatments.
"St. Jude really goes out on a limb and puts a smile on these kids' faces," Robison said. "They pretty much foot the bill on everything. No matter what, they make these kids' lives a little easier with all the things that are going on in their lives and hard things that are going on with the families, they try to ease the pain as much as possible, so anytime you can help an organization like that, it's a huge deal in my book."
Robison also helped cancer patients last December when he cut the ponytail he had grown for almost five years and donated it for Locks of Love.
Lindall said Abby is scheduled to return to the hospital for check-ups every six months for the next seven years and always will be welcomed back to the hospital's campus, as evidenced by Lindall meeting a patient, who received treatment in 1962 when the facility opened, during Abby's first visit.
Lindall said, in addition to quality physical health care, St. Jude is "really good about teaching the kids to be able to acclimate back to school and stuff that you wouldn't think about." He said the care has helped smiles return to his daughter's face.
"It's amazing because we never would have found out the things we find out so just when you go down there, the last thing you want to be thinking about is a bill," Lindall said. "You can focus on your kid getting better. We appreciate the Vikings coming here."