Rochester man donates $20,000 to Children’s Minnesota in son’s honor
ST. PAUL, Minn. (KTTC) – A Rochester man is carrying on his son’s legacy after he passed away at the age of eight from a Lung Disease. Jack Lester owner of Jack’s Bottle Shop is donating $20,000 along with some gifts to Children’s Minnesota in St. Paul as a part of his family’s fundraiser, Do-It-For-M-Dog.
Lester’s son Marcus Tolbert was a lively kid who battled an interstitial lung disease for most of his life. Searching for answers, his family visited Children’s Minnesota in St. Paul.
“When we were brought here, it was instantly an instance of feeling like family,” Lester said.
After not getting any answers from the Mayo Clinic, Marcus received his official diagnosis at Children’s Minnesota.
“Once we got to Children’s, we finally got answers,” he said.
Marcus lost his battle in 2019, and now every March, which is the month of Marcus’s birthday, Lester puts on a fundraiser in honor of his son.
This year, he donated $20,000 to Children’s Minnesota.
“We’re here today with a wonderful team of individuals that were all on the frontlines with us when we were staying here at Children’s Hospital,” Lester said.
Dr. Christina Mikesell, a pediatric pulmonologist at Children’s Minnesota, spent a lot of time with Marcus, and was actually the physician who discovered Marcus’s diagnosis.
“He definitely put as much life as he could into the years he had,” Dr. Mikesell said.
Along with the check, Lester is also donating Nintendo Switches and games to the hospital, an activity Marcus did a lot while staying at the hospital.
“He was known to be quite loud and involved with his games and we often had to shut the door to his room, because he was screaming too loud for the kids around him to nap,” Dr. Mikesell said.
The remainder of the funds will be divided between the pulmonology department, the pediatric intensive care unit and the child life program, a program that provides games and other activities to kids staying at the hospital.
“Anything that takes away from the difficult parts of being in our care or in our hospital,” philanthropy officer at Children’s Minnesota Foundation Sara Fabian said.
Although the fundraiser is over for the year and Marcus is no longer with us, he lives on in his family and charity.
“We’re carrying this movement, and we are not stopping. We’re going to make sure to carry on Marcus’s legacy forever,” Lester said.
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