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'We're carrying Marcus' legacy on': Dad donates $20K to Children's Minnesota in son's honor

Jack Lester made the donation to celebrate the memory of son Marcus Tolbert, who passed away in 2019 after being treated at Children's for about eight years.
Credit: Children's Minnesota
Jack Lester donates $20,000 to Children's Minnesota

ST PAUL, Minn. — Every day, the nurses, doctors and staff at Children's Minnesota work to take care of sick kids and their families.

On Wednesday, Jack Lester, whose son Marcus was a patient at Children's, said "thank you" in a very big way.

Lester donated $20,000 worth of money and gifts to the Children's St. Paul campus in honor of Marcus, who passed away from a rare lung disease in 2019.

Marcus, who would've turned 11 on March 27, was treated at Children's for eight years. Every March in honor of his birthday, the family holds a fundraiser in their hometown of Rochester and donates the money to a nonprofit. This year, they chose Children's.

"We're carrying Marcus' legacy on," Lester said.

Video games were an escape for Marcus, so included in this year's donation were 10 Nintendo Switch game systems.

"We wanted to bring something back as a physical piece, not only give a donation to the hospital but give something back to the children," he said.

Credit: KARE 11
Donation to Children's Minnesota in honor of Marcus Tolbert

“Children’s Minnesota is extremely grateful for Mr. Lester’s generous donation in memory of Marcus; his gift will make a big difference for our patients throughout our St. Paul campus,” said Jenny Soderholm, president of the Children’s Minnesota Foundation. “Donations to Children’s Minnesota do more than help us provide life-saving medical care for kids. They also support programs within our non-profit organization such as music therapy, patient birthday parties and much more.”

According to Children's Minnesota, the donation will support the Pediatric Pulmonology program, Child Life program and other departments at the St. Paul campus. Marcus.

"It's my job as a father to carry on Marcus' torch," said Lester. "We're taking that torch to the top where Marcus is and where he stays."

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