Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to help us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO

Sandy's Story

Headache Center
“I love my visits with Dr. Thronaum, she is as excited as I am about the results. I’m very pleased I was referred to her, it’s been a life-changing experience.”

Patient experiences “life-changing journey” with new headache doctor

Sandy Backowski, from Little Falls, has a long family history of migraine headaches. Sandy’s own journey with migraines started at about age 40. For numerous years, she balanced work and migraines, traveling to seek care and having few results.

“I’d have a couple migraines a month and they would last three to four days,” Sandy said. “I would close my eyes and be in the dark and only get up to go to the bathroom. When you have a life like that, you are in constant worry --- when you don’t have a migraine, you worry when you’re going to get one and when you have one, you are isolated from your family and friends. It’s very depressing. I learned to cherish those migraines that only lasted a day.”

Sandy tried many different things from numerous headache medications and doctors, to ER visits, yoga, acupuncture, massage and meditation. “Nothing they did for me worked,” she said. When she learned of a new neurologist at CentraCare who specializes in headaches, Leah Thronaum, DO, she again felt hopeful.

“My first visit with Dr. Thronaum was really exciting because she gave me hope. I remember clearly Dr. Thronaum saying ‘If these two things don’t work, there are always other options,’” Sandy said. “I felt so hopeful after that visit with her.”

Sandy’s son had told her about a new medication for migraines called Aimovig, an injection received approximately once a month to prevent migraines. Sandy thought she sounded like the perfect candidate. She discussed it with Dr. Thronaum and they gave it a try.

“Dr. Thronaum and her nurse, Cody, did a great job educating me,” Sandy said. Since starting on this medication, Sandy has only experienced mild headaches lasting a short duration and hasn’t had a migraine in more than six months.

“I love my visits with Dr. Thronaum, she is as excited as I am about the results,” Sandy said. “I’m very pleased I was referred to her, it’s been a life-changing experience.”