Rare Diseases

Timberwolves step up after patient loses beloved comfort toy

Hannah Kiresuk, 19, was given a new companion by the Minnesota Timberwolves after she lost hers.

Hannah Kiresuk, 19, was given a new companion by the Minnesota Timberwolves after she lost hers.  (Fox 9)

When a social media campaign failed to locate a Minnesota woman’s beloved stuffed animal that has endured as many medical procedures as she has, the Minnesota Timberwolves decided to step in.

Hannah Kiresuk, 19, was diagnosed with juvenile refractory myasthenia gravis, a rare autoimmune disorder that has no cure. She’s undergone more than 30 surgeries and procedures, countless rounds of chemotherapy and has spent hundreds of long nights in the hospital. Through it all, her stuffed animal “Hammy” has been with her.

“He’s been there for 300 nights in the hospital, almost two years of chemotherapy, 30-plus surgeries,” Kiresuk told Fox 9. The toy had bandages, zip up sutures and medical tubes to represent each of Kiresuk’s procedure.

The cow toy went missing after it fell out of Kiresuk’s backpack in early March while she was attending a benefit held in her honor in Minneapolis, Fox 9 reported. She had used the skyway to pass the Target Center, home of the Timberwolves, and past the team’s offices. While efforts to find Hammy fell short, the Wolves invited Kiresuk and her family to a March 8 matchup against the San Antonio Spurs at Target Center.

“After a couple of days went by and Hammy hadn’t been found, we decided to reach out and see if we could do something, not to replace Hammy – Hammy can never be replaced, but try to do something [to make it] a little less traumatizing for the family,” Brad Ruiter, Timberwolves spokesman told Fox 9.

At the game Timberwolves guard Tyus Jones presented Kiresuk with a new companion, a stuffed dog which she named “Wiggy” after star player Andrew Wiggins.

“It’s nice to have moments where you don’t remember you’re sick,” she told the news station.

While there is no cure for her disorder, the family is hopeful that a bone marrow transplant will allow Kiresuk to live a fuller life. They are currently fundraising to help cover costs. 

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