Rainbow of Hope
RAINBOW OF HOPE AWARD WINNERS – 2018
Shriners Hospitals for Children – Twin Cities is proud to announce Emily Jacobson,
Lindsay Jones and Emily Steffen as this year’s Rainbow of Hope award winners. The
prestigious award recognizes three current or former patients for the contributions they have made to their communities and ability to overcome life’s challenges with a positive attitude. Each winner receives a gift and their names are placed on the Rainbow of Hope plaque in the hospital’s main lobby. The award program was started 30 years ago by former Board member, Bill Ash from Osman Shrine and Todd Anderson, former Director of Orthotics & Prosthetics at the Twin Cities Hospital. Although both of these men have since passed away they would take great pride in knowing the program they started continues to grow.
EMILY STEFFEN – ABU BEKR SHRINE
Emily Steffen is a vibrant 19 year old from Charter Oak, Iowa who was born missing
the lower part of her left arm. When she was younger, she was very upset that she was born different from the rest of her friends. Emily did her best to hide her left arm and she would cry because she could not jump rope or climb on the monkey bars like her friends. Over time, she taught herself how to do everything that her friends were able to do. She learned to embrace her missing arm and stopped hiding it. Once Emily gained confidence in herself, she began to provide support for other people with differences in her community.
She had her first appointment at Shriners Hospitals for Children at 6 months old and was
fit for her first prosthetic. She has received around 10 different prosthetic arms over her years as a Shriners patient. Emily has done many activities with and without her prosthetic arm; including flag football, dance, gymnastics, volleyball, basketball, softball and cheerleading. She has played the piano and trumpet, and currently uses her prosthetic arm to do yoga. Emily’s family felt it was important for her to attend the Twin Cities Hospital’s Camp Achieve so that she could spend time with other children who were missing limbs. For nine years, they traveled from 5 hours away and spent the week at various places nearby so that Emily could come to camp. It’s obvious that her family’s commitment to camp had a positive effect on Emily, because once she “graduated” from camp at age 13, she came back to volunteer at multiple camps. She has been a great example to the younger kids while volunteering at camp and has taught other girls missing an arm how to tie their shoes and put their hair in a ponytail on their own.
Emily is an outgoing young woman who spends time raising awareness for people with
disabilities. She even volunteered to wake up a 5am last summer, without complaining, to drive and share her experiences with the Iowa Shrine Bowl football players, coaches and cheerleaders about prosthetics. She expressed to this large group about how amazing her life has been because of growing up with a limb difference and how much Shriners Hospitals for Children has positively influenced her life.
Emily is currently studying Global Health at the University of Iowa and is taking the
necessary classes towards getting into a master’s program for orthotics and prosthetics. Her goal is to become an orthotics and prosthetics practitioner so that she can help kids just like her to understand that they are never alone and that they can do anything they set their minds to.
EMILY JACOBSON – BEJA SHRINE
Emily Jacobson of Antigo, Wisconsin was born missing her arm below the elbow and began coming to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Twin Cities at 6 months of age. She received her first prosthetic arm, her “helping hand” shortly
after her first visit to the Twin Cities hospital, but by the age of 1, she decided that she wanted to do everything with her “little arm” and stopped using her “helping hand.” Now 19, Emily has spent her whole life being proud of her ability
to do many things with her “little arm.” From tying her own shoes, riding her bike, and crossing the monkey bars to becoming a strong swimmer & lifeguard, Emily has proven she has strength and a will to succeed.
Emily attended the Twin Cities hospital’s Camp Achieve from ages 5-13. Camp Achieve is a day camp for patients with limb differences where they spend a week trying new activities that they think they may not be able to accomplish
due to missing a limb. One of the huge benefits of camp is giving kids exposure to other kids who are “just like them” because they may not know anyone else with a limb difference from their community. Emily holds Camp Achieve so close
to her heart that as she got older, she volunteered as a helper at camp. She’s been an excellent teacher & role model to children who are facing similar challenges due to missing a limb, just like she did as a child. Her passion in advocating
for herself and others living with limb differences is inspiring.
In addition to giving back as a camp helper, Emily was a member of National Honor Society. She served as a good example and mentor through her swim teams and as a lifeguard. She was the swim captain and inspired her teammates
with her ability to compete in all of the drills and strokes. Emily continues to use her swimming and lifeguarding skills at an annual biathlon in her hometown, where she proudly stands at the waterfront ready to help her community
members and friends as they swim.
Emily is currently enrolled at St. Cloud State University where she is studying occupational therapy. Her dream is to be an occupational therapist at Shriners Hospitals for Children.
LINDSAY JONES – EL KAHIR SHRINE
At 18 months of age, Lindsay Jones of Sheffield, Iowa was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, also known as JRA or JIA. Her pediatrician noticed that Lindsay’s ankle was swollen during her routine 15 month appointment
and told her parents to put her in more supportive shoes for a bit to see if that made a difference. Unfortunately, a few weeks later the other ankle and knee became swollen as well. After several appointments, x-rays and tests, Lindsay was
diagnosed with JRA.
Lindsay saw a local rheumatologist for the first few months, but her care team decided it was a better option for her to see a pediatric rheumatologist, someone who specializes in arthritis in little bodies. Thanks to Dr. Lee Lane and
Steve Donaldson, Shriners from El Kahir temple, the Jones family came to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Twin Cities. They were even more excited about the change in care when they learned that they were going to be able to see Dr.
Tom Mason. They had been referred to see Dr. Mason at the Mayo Clinic by their local rheumatologist and were happy to hear that he also treats patients at Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Lindsay is now 17 years old and because she was diagnosed with JRA at such a young age, she has developed a strong will and high pain tolerance. Her mother, Marilee credits Lindsay’s strong spirit to the ups and downs of JRA as
well as numerous leg braces, wrist braces, rigorous physical therapy, water therapy, blood work, tests and doctors appointments.
Having JRA is just one chapter of Lindsay’s story. She also endured eye surgery at the age of 6, a liver laceration due to ATV accident, a broken wrist from basketball, and a severe concussion from a line drive while pitching softball
which causes frequent migraines still today. Nevertheless, she remains positive and has an appreciation for being healthy and able to do so much. Lindsay plays softball, volleyball and basketball and gives her all in everything she tries, even
if it means a lot of pain and long recovery afterwards.
Lindsay’s list of community support and reasons why she is a role model is a long one. She’s a member of National Honor Society and FFA. She’s done fundraising for many organizations including Children’s Miracle Network, Spirit
of West Fork, and Coaches verses cancer. She volunteers at vacation Bible school and works at a daycare before school and as her sports schedules permit.
One of her proudest moments was her National Honor Society project in December of 2017 when she decided to hold a fundraiser for a young boy named Landon who is battling cancer. She worked with her school and the opposing
team to dedicate a night of high school basketball games to Landon. The entire crowd wore orange, she made an announcement during the game, and the cheerleaders from both teams helped pass a donation bucket through the crowd.
Lindsay made a bet with her principal and he agreed to dye his hair orange if she could raise $1,000 by start of last game of the night. Her efforts paid off when she happily presented $1,300 to Landon's family, AND her principal ended up
with orange hair! In addition to her fundraiser, the following week a neighboring school contacted her to see if she would be willing to help one of their students replicate the fundraiser at their school. As the saying goes, imitation is the
sincerest form of flattery and we feel this is very fitting in Lindsay’s case.