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'Super-Gav' saves the day (06/23/2014)
By Amelia Wedemeyer

     Photo by Amelia Wedemeyer

. Four-year-old Gavin Quimby received a key to the city as part of his special day.

Despite the heavy rain on Thursday morning, there was no shortage of support and enthusiasm for four-year-old Gavin Quimby — who might be known better to some Winonans by the name of his alter ego “Super-Gav” — when he arrived at Paul Giel Field.

Gavin, dressed in a blue Super-Gav shirt and red cape, had made it onto the soggy astroturf just in time to help the Winhawks varsity football team by scoring the winning touchdown. As he crossed the line with a little help from a teammate, the cheers from the many spectators in the stands and on the sidelines seemed to alleviate any lingering insecurities because of the rainstorm. In his little leg braces adorned with images of his favorite superhero — Superman, obviously — Gavin was was hoisted up and hailed as the hero he truly is.

Scoring the winning touchdown was just the beginning of Super-Gav’s heroic duties, which included putting out a fire, helping out a damsel in distress, and receiving the key to the city of Winona. “It’s overwhelming,” Gavin’s mother Shanna said of the day’s events and community support of Gavin. “People we don’t even know have come out to support us and donate.”

The idea for Super-Gav day came about after the Quimby’s good friend and neighbor Jay Rasmussen, who also serves as a police officer with Gavin’s father Nick, learned of Gavin’s diagnosis of metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD), which is a rare and ultimately fatal genetic disorder. MLD is marked by the degeneration of skills most people take for granted, such as walking and talking.  

“Nick told me back in December, and it was so devastating,” Rasmussen said of the Gavin’s diagnosis. “I was thinking and thinking about it, and after a couple of months went by I started writing a script involving his favorite superhero, Superman, of course, and then I remembered Miles Scott, ‘Batkid’ from San Francisco — we don’t have Batkid, but we have Super-Gav!”

Originally, the idea was to make a movie for Gavin and his family, which consist of his mother Shanna, who works as a surgical technician at Gundersen Health Systems in La Crosse, Wis., and has served in the United States Army; father Nick, a veteran of the Winona Police Department and a United States Marine who served a tour in the Iraq War; and older sister Ali, 6, who constantly dotes on and looks out for her little brother.

“The movie is mainly just for support and to provide awareness for Gavin’s website and upcoming fundraiser,” Rasmussen explained. The fundraiser, which is set for July 26 at Winona Elks Lodge, will help the family pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses, experimental treatments and therapies that are not covered by insurance.

“It’s amazing,” Shanna said of the involvement of the community and the family’s friends. “I found myself having to walk away a couple of times [during the day] because I didn’t want to lose it in front of everyone.”

The fundraiser for Gavin Quimby will take place on July 26 at Winona Elks Lodge from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Visit http://www.gavinflyingforacure.com/ and keep reading the Winona Post for more information. 


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