Children's Minnesota helps patients get back to school

Updated: August 23, 2019 09:27 AM

Nine-year-old Kaelee Dufrane says it took almost as much courage to start third grade as it did to beat cancer.

"I was worried because they were going to ask me questions, like 'Why do I look different? And why is all my hair gone?'" she said.


Kaelee missed most of second grade while she was undergoing cancer treatment at Children's Minnesota.  When she was discharged in time for a new school year, she wasn't prepared for all the questions about how she looked and where she had been.

In cases like this, Children's Minnesota sends in their "re-entry" specialists.  A team designed to help kids like Kaelee go back to school after an extended time in the hospital.

More from KSTP: 

Children's Minnesota launches multidisciplinary Gender Health Program for transgender, gender-diverse youth

Teen patient turns volunteer at Children's Minnesota

They work with teachers in advance and work with students on how to ask questions and understand their classmate's condition.  In Kaelee's case, they even showed the other third graders pictures and videos from the hospital.

"It's really giving them the information and the language and the opportunity to ask questions where it's not on the playground and it can be in a facilitated way," said Rachel Calvert, with Children's Minnesota.

Over the years, the re-entry program has helped more than 2,000 students.  This fall, specialists are preparing to visit as many as 90 schools throughout Minnesota.

The program is supported by Twin Cities area Great Clips.  Beginning Saturday, a portion of the proceeds from each haircut will help kids with cancer or other serious illnesses go back to school with confidence. Click here for more information.

Connect with KSTP

Join the conversation on our social media platforms. Share your comments on our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages.


Ellen Galles

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


Light snow accumulating in Twin Cities, heavier snowfall expected in southern Minnesota

Minnesota House GOP proposes crackdown on urban crime

Driver killed after crash on I-494 in Bloomington

Search for Inver Grove Heights girl who went missing in 1992 continues

Fire chief: Demolition required to completely extinguish St. Cloud bar fire

After living with type 1 diabetes for 50 years, local man mentors the newly diagnosed