VIRTUAL VIKINGS 5K
TCO Foundation Partners Receive a Combined $50,000
While 2020 was a challenging year for all, the effects of the pandemic hit TCO Foundation partners Bolder Options, CycleHealth, and United Heroes League especially hard.
In-person events were cancelled or rescheduled. Donations slowed. Uncertainty set in.
“Our community was hurting,” Katie Bernhjelm, Director of Partnership Activation with the Minnesota Vikings said. “As we brainstormed ways to reimagine the TCO Vikings 5K, we kept coming back to one thing: How can we lift our community up during this difficult time? We knew the TCO Foundation partners are amazing organizations who work to promote healthy lifestyles, especially for youth, and we wanted to make sure their incredible work could continue.”
The event shifted to a virtual format, enabling over 3,000 runners from across the world to participate. $50,000 in proceeds was then donated amongst the three TCO Foundation partners.
“This gift was the lifeline we needed to survive and finish the year with wind in our sails,” Tony Schiller, Chief Motivator for CycleHealth said. “More than ever, people needed opportunities to be active and purposeful in the outdoors, and this donation helped us make that happen.”
“It was like thinking you opened up all your birthday presents and then realizing there’s one more,” Lucy Bossert, Outreach Director at Bolder Options said. “Getting a check this size towards the end of our fiscal year gave us a little room to breathe, and we could worry less about our finances and focus more on addressing how the ever-changing landscape of COVID-19 was impacting the youth in our community.”
“It was critical,” Shane Hudella, President & Founder of United Heroes League said. “We saw a drop in donations of over 40% for the year. This gift allowed our mission to continue, and allowed us to be there for military kids when they needed us most.”
It’s not how you start the race, but how you finish. And in the end, despite the obstacles, it was a “win” for our community.
IMPACT CONCUSSION TESTING
Testing Made Possible for Athletes Like Abby
A ‘simple’ concussion rocked Abby’s entire world. A volleyball star at Eagan, Abby struggled for five months simply making it through a full day of school. Her friends and teammates didn’t understand, so her relationships suffered. She couldn’t sleep, yet was exhausted by everything. Her headaches and confusion made it difficult to function. Volleyball, of course, came to a slamming halt. This concussion was evil. It was isolating. It was long. It was consuming. There were days Abby wasn’t sure if she would recover, and it was clear she needed help. Fast.
Abby’s parents found that amazing help and expertise from Chris Ashton, MS, LAT, ATC, the Concussion Program Coordinator at TCO. He, along with Dr. David Olson and physical therapists Michael Steiner, PT, DPT, and Jake Wendt, PT, DPT, OCS, worked together to put a recovery program together to help Abby heal. Chris started by carefully assessing Abby to determine the type of concussion she had, taught her about the complexities of concussions, and put together a comprehensive program to help Abby move forward. Chris then coordinated vestibular and ocular therapy with Mike and Jake at TCO’s physical therapy centers in both Eagan and Woodbury. This was not your average-joe physical therapy. They put together a program to help Abby’s eyes work together again to improve her balance, headaches, and fatigue.
Fast forward five months. Abby was cleared to play volleyball again. School has improved, she’s sleeping well, and she’s able to spend time with friends.
“Abby got her life back because of TCO,” Abby’s mother said. “Thank you for standing with us, especially on the bad days. Thank you for sharing your amazing expertise. You all are amazing, and Abby can now pursue her dream of playing D1 volleyball.”
Stories like Abby’s are why Twin Cities Orthopedics is so proud to be a sports medicine leader in the community. The TCO Foundation helps support this role by making it possible to ensure student-athletes and youth athletes alike have access to ImPACT concussion testing through generous financial support. This ensures athletes who sustain a concussion injury are able to receive the best possible care.
Over the years, the TCO Foundation’s contribution has made over 17,500 ImPACT baseline & post-injury concussion tests possible for local high schools and youth sports organizations.
HALLIE Q. BROWN COMMUNITY CENTER
Inspired By Generations of Community Support
In 2020, the TCO Foundation donated $7,500 to the Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, located in the Rondo neighborhood of St. Paul, to support youth programming and other community-based services.
The gift was inspired by TCO’s Kalyn Bazley, a Patient Service Representative, who also serves on the organization’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Action Group. Kalyn introduced TCO and the Action Group to Hallie Q. Brown, thanks to her personal connection that dates back generations.
“My grandfather was one of the first Black realtors in Minnesota,” said Kalyn. “He received his college degree from the University of Minnesota. But at that time, the U of M didn’t allow students of color to live in on-campus housing, so he didn’t know where to live. Hallie Q. Brown actually helped him with off-campus housing so he could pursue his career.”
Decades later, Kalyn herself became introduced to Hallie Q. Brown, attending the early learning center as a young child. Then, as an adult, Kalyn once again turned to the community center for guidance while she took her family away from domestic abuse.
“Hallie Q. Brown has always been proactive in offering help and support,” Kalyn said. “They’ve been the greatest resource for myself and my kids. If they can’t help, they can put you in touch with someone who can. For many of us, it’s hard to ask for help, but no matter who you are or what your situation is, they never allow you to feel belittled.”
During the Twin Cities uprisings in June of 2020, Kalyn found herself wanting to give back. So, she put her energy toward supporting her local community, and the organization that had given so much to her. Normally, Hallie Q. Brown’s food shelf can support 750 families, but at this moment resources were scarce. Kalyn launched a donation drive, tapping into her colleagues at TCO among others, and the response was incredible. They collected enough donations to feed 1,500 families during an extremely critical time.
The momentum of the food drive led Kalyn to join the newly-formed DEI Action Group, and continue her work alongside other passionate leaders.
“I was inspired to join the Action Group because if we’re really trying to diminish the disparity gap, then we need to include communities that share our name – the ‘Twin Cities,’” Kalyn said. “I’ve seen first-hand that the quickest way you can find out what a community needs is by touching base with community centers like Hallie Q. Brown, and being a support to them. They help people in more ways than you can imagine.”
Kalyn’s advice to anyone looking to support their community is simple.
“Find out what the current need is by asking,” Kalyn said. “Always be proactive, and recognize that it’s humbling to ask for help, and most people won’t do it on their own. Initiate the conversation. ‘How can I be of service?’ As a healthcare provider, we especially need to be mindful of that.”
CYCLEHEALTH: KID-POWERED WELLNESS
CycleHealth teams with leaders in business and health care to equip kids with tools to create a new cycle of health in America. World-class events and programs, delivered through CycleHealth’s innovative Sweat Rx, allow kids to lead the way to wellness.
In 2020, CycleHealth was able to modify all four of our adventure races to safely host them during the COVID-19 pandemic. Altogether, in the last year, a record 4,400 participated in four events for kids and families. Additionally, we launched a successful pilot of a new adventure program called Unlock It! that was rolled out in four sites across the metro area, with plans to expand the program to several new sites during 2021. Learn more at CycleHealth.org.
“The happiest sight on race eve at the Resilinator was looking up and seeing the large and enthusiastic team of TCO employees arrive ready for duty. Two hours later, most of our race village had been built and we were ready to host a record 1,200+ kid and family racers. The joy and commitment of your team is yet another way TCO lives out their core values. Thank you TCO.”
– Tony Schiller | Chief Motivator, CycleHealth
UNITED HEROES LEAGUES
United Heroes League’s mission is to help military families build confidence, friendships, and engagement through sports by providing free head-to-toe sports equipment, free skill development camps, grants to offset sports fees and tickets to pro games so the family can enjoy a night out before or after deployment. Learn more at UnitedHeroesLeague.org.
“The Twin Cities Orthopedics Foundation has emerged as one of our key partners in providing sports opportunities to military kids through our mission. Getting these heroic youngsters out on the playing field is such a critical way for them to relieve stress and cope with the challenges of having a parent deployed or injured. We are so grateful to have the TCO Foundation serving alongside United Heroes League, the same way that military kids serve right alongside their parents.”
– Shane Hudella | President & Founder, United Heroes League
Bolder Options provides transformational individual mentoring and development for at-promise youth ages of 10-14. We harness the power of building meaningful relationships, along with a structured program of physical activity, academic improvement, goal setting and empowerment, to help young people build self-esteem and healthy habits. Learn more at BolderOptions.org.
For nearly 30 years, Bolder Options has matched caring adults with youth willing to learn from them how to succeed in all of life’s races. The Twin Cities Orthopedics Foundation has been a key partner in this mission. Over the years, they have invested in our shared vision through generous donations, dozens of volunteer hours, and a spirit of collaboration that brings awareness to the work we do. Their commitment to the community is genuine and we are grateful to have them stand with us.
– Darrell Thompson | Executive Director, Bolder Options