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Gillette Family Shares Heartwarming Thank-You after Attending Annual Extra Life Event

Read the letter, sent to the Nerdery office in Bloomington, MN, by Kevin Matzke, who is the father of a Gillette patient name Lauryn. Kevin and Lauryn travel to Minnesota from Arizona to attend Nerdery’s annual Extra Life fundraising event, which raises money for Minnesota’s local CMN hospital, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare.

I am writing to THANK YOU and the Nerdery team members for letting Lauryn and I attend the Extra Life 24-hour gaming fundraiser.

I cannot explain enough how much this event means to Lauryn, her mother (Jenny), and myself.  The hospitality and generosity from the team members and Nerdery organization is mind blowing.  You and the team members are willing to take time out of your busy schedules away from your families to raise money for Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare. Gillette is then able to take those funds and help a child receive life changing care. Lauryn is prime example of all your hard work and generosity!

Let me give you an example:

I know some of you know some of Lauryn’s background, but I want to share just a little bit more so that you can understand where I am coming from. When my wife and I found out Lauryn’s cerebral palsy diagnosis at the age of eight months (Lauryn had suffered a stroke at a day old), we of course were overwhelmed with emotion. We were informed that she may never walk, she may never talk, and she may have a cognitive delay, etc. But for some reason, Lauryn kept showing us that if you keep “fighting” with the help of a great healthcare organization, you can accomplish some hurdles in life.

She went through many physical, occupational, and speech therapy sessions.  She has been poked and prodded by every doctor that she has ever seen. Additionally she has had some major surgeries to help her grow physically and walk properly. Has it always been easy? No! But you know what? Lauryn has never given up and has been an inspiration to her parents and others. She has always said that when the Gillette doctors suggest something to make life easier for her, she is willing to listen, do the research, and then proceed with their recommendation(s). She is a “display” of what your fundraising has done for Gillette.

While at the event, Troy (from Nerdery) and I were conversing and he said to me…”I didn’t even know that Lauryn could run” (Lauryn was running from the VR area to the couch she was gaming on). I am telling you, I had to look away, catch my breath, hold in my emotions and respond by saying…”Oh yeah, she moves great”. This is all from the technology that Gillette was able to purchase to help perform the surgery on her right leg. Where did some of those funds come from to help purchase that technology?…that’s right, Nerdery.  So I cannot say thank you enough!  Our baby girl is walking, talking, dancing, singing, and definitely GAMING because of you (unfortunately because she is a Type I diabetic, she won’t graduate to Nerdery energy drink consumption level – LOL).

Lauryn wants to continue to accept Nerdery’s invitation to be a team member when it comes to the Extra Life event. She wants to be part of that feeling of helping other kids.  She wants to be able to game without having her parents saying “you have been on that system long enough today”. She wants to see all the friends she has made at Nerdery and continue to make more. She just wants to live a normal (“Nerd”) life.  She wants to make it to that 24th hour of gaming (she almost made it this year). My wife and I have promised Lauryn that no matter where we live, we will try our hardest to make sure that she is in attendance at Nerdery’s Extra Life event to help contribute to the cause.

I have to put a few shout outs to some people:

Emily (I am sorry I did not catch your last name) Thank you for sitting with Lauryn on the couch and listening to her bragging of becoming more famous that Michael Jordan. You were not aware, but I was watching the interaction from afar and hearing Lauryn laugh/giggle was heartwarming (even though it was 2:30 AM).

Stu (Virtual Reality). I thank you for patience and understanding of Lauryn’s situation, and making the adjustments to the game so that she could participate one handed.  I could tell that she was relieved that she wasn’t going to miss out with the game that her friends had already tried.

Troy…WOW!  That pretty much sums it up.  You’re caring for the event, your preparation, your motivation, your commitment, your time, your sincerity, and most of all your concern for Lauryn’s health/life. I know Lauryn has made a friend for life!  Thank you!

The Sponsors:  Thank you for all of your help in making this event so successful.

Finally, to Nerdery and team members. All of your efforts and generosity will not be forgotten! Not only from Lauryn but for all the families who are part of Gillette’s community!  Feel proud of yourself.  Your actions have been life changing…not just for 24 hours, but forever!

With that my family and I would like to say Thank You and Have a Great Day!


Lauryn, Jenny, and Kevin Matzke