Scott Kornstedt Gives Back to Specialty Health Care Center
Two days after their daughter was born in March 2013, Scott and Carrie Kornstedt received some unnerving news.
A routine blood test revealed Raegan has a condition known as phenylketonuria, or PKU. Her body can’t break down an amino acid called phenylalanine. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein in the body. Without treatment, phenylalanine continues to accumulate in the blood of individuals with PKU and causes health problems including intellectual disabilities and seizures.
“We were two very scared parents,” Scott said. “When they tell you something is wrong with your two-day-old child, that’s a frightening experience for anyone.”
This news led the Kornstedts on a trip across Madison the next day to the Waisman Center, which operates 13 specialty clinics serving patients with developmental disabilities and neurodegenerative diseases. It is where Harry Waisman, a pediatrician for whom the center is named, was instrumental in initiating the testing of infants for PKU and treating individuals with the disorder.
“Within half an hour of visiting that first day, we felt like, ‘This is manageable,’” Scott said. “We can do this. There are smart people around us who can help us, this won’t be a problem. And that’s exactly how it has turned out.”
The result of the consultation with Waisman Center experts, along with subsequent dietary planning, is Raegan living as close to a normal life as one would expect for a three-and-a-half-year-old girl.
“You would never know she has any kind of condition, unless you watch her eat,” Scott said.
Scott, a financial planner with Filbrandt Investment Advisers, subsequently got involved with the Friends of the Waisman Center board, on which he currently serves as president. Its projects include:
- Over a three-year period, the Friends donated $80,000 for a project to renovate the Waisman Center's clinical space. Each year, the specialty clinics of the Waisman Center serve thousands of individuals—from throughout Wisconsin and beyond—who have autism, Down syndrome, fragile X, cerebral palsy, or other developmental disorders
- Sponsorship of the free Waisman Center Day with the Experts educational series that features the latest research and clinical services and a panel of community and family experts
- Scholarships for the Waisman Early Childhood Program, a year-round preschool, with a developmentally diverse enrollment, for children ages 1 to 5
- The Waisman Center Children's Theatre, with support from The Capital Times Kids Fund. The series features culturally enriching, educational, and entertaining programs that reach thousands of children and their families each year
- The Discovery Garden, a 1.5-acre fully-accessible outdoor learning and play space
- Travel scholarships for families who participate in educational programs at the Waisman Center
- Support for the John D. Wiley Seminar Series, which brings internationally renowned scientists to the Waisman Center for presentations that are open to the community
- Sponsorship of the Stevens International Collection of Art by People with Disabilities, an inspiring collection of close to 150 works of art from 15 countries
“Scott is a great ambassador for the Waisman Center,” said Teresa Palumbo, communications manager for the center. “He has great passion for his role on the board, and is very dedicated to it.”
She added that the Friends of the Waisman Center Board president usually serves a one-year term in that role, but Scott has committed to two years.
One of the Friends board’s three major annual fund-raisers, the Waisman Whirl “Run, Walk and Roll for All Abilities,” resulted in nearly double the number of registrants from the inaugural event the previous year. Nearly 300 people registered to participate in the 10k, 5k and 1-mile run-walk events on October 16.
Palumbo added that more than 400 people attended, including more than 70 volunteers. The Waisman Whirl is the organization’s third annual fundraiser, along with a golf tournament and a concert.
“We started this walk because our other two events price a lot of people out of them,” Scott said.
“The board wanted to create an event that was more family oriented and accessible to the broader community,” Palumbo added.
Filbrandt Investment Advisers founders Patricia and Michael Filbrandt have long supported the work of the Waisman Center.
“The Filbrandts have been long-standing supporters of the Friends of the Waisman Center,” Palumbo said. “They have been very generous contributors to our events. We greatly appreciate their partnership and support.”