At two years of age, Nate Riedeman of Wyoming, Minn., was diagnosed with Ollier’s disease which manifests as greater than normal growth of the cartilage in the long bones of the arms and legs and causes masses to grow. The masses are painful and cause abnormal growth and weak bones. The only treatment known for this disease is surgery to remove the masses. Nate has had seven such surgeries, removing 31 masses. Until he was 20 years old, he received treatment at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Twin Cities for his condition – involving bone grafting, numerous casts and many months of physical and occupational therapy.
Prior to each of his seven surgeries, Nate’s mother made him a fleece blanket for comfort. As Nate grew older he noticed not all patients at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Twin Cities had this source of comfort. Nate decided to collect supplies and donations from family and friends and proceeded to make blankets for other children having surgery. His first blanket drive was a success and he was able to donate 60 blankets to the hospital.
In 2014, at age 20, when he was transitioning out of care at Shriners Hospitals for Children and into an adult facility, he decided a fitting farewell to the hospital would be another blanket drive. His goal was to raise money and supplies to make 100 blankets. Thanks to the support of donors he was able to make and donate 115 blankets, each with a personal note attached.
Nate also participates in the Feed My Starving Children program, volunteers at the local library, tutors students and is a Red Cross Blood Drive volunteer.
It is because of Nate’s giving spirit that he received a 2015 Rainbow of Hope award. This award is given each year to three current or former patients of Shriners Hospitals for Children — Twin Cities. Winners are recognized for contributions they have made to their communities or schools and for overcoming life’s challenges. Simply put, they are considered role models in their communities. Each winner receives a cash prize and his or her name is placed on the Rainbow of Hope plaque displayed in the hospital’s main lobby.
The Rainbow of Hope program was started in 1998 by former Shriners Hospitals for Children — Twin Cities Board of Governors member Bill Ash, Osman Shrine, and former director of orthotics and prosthetics Todd Anderson. Although both of these men have since passed away, they would take pride in knowing this program continues to recognize and reward deserving patients.
Nate is currently a junior at Bethel University majoring in biology and chemistry. His gratitude to the Shrine doctors and staff is evident by his desire to attend medical school and provide medical care to others. As he accepted his Rainbow of Hope award, Nate stated, “Shriners Hospital has made such an impact on my life that I would love to someday be a practicing physician at this amazing hospital so I can continue to give back. It has been such a blessing for Shriners Hospital to be a part of my life.”