Bristol 12-year-old raising $10,000 for Children’s Hospital

Brett Niederer

When 12-year-old Brett Niederer’s hair is short enough, you might notice the  line on the top of his head.

You might think it’s a scar. But Brett looks at it differently.

“It’s not a scar, it’s a storyline,” Brett said.

The story of how Brett and his family have dealt with his craniosynostosis is indeed an impressive story. Brett has had four surgeries in his 12 years to correct the premature fusing of skull sutures — the joints between the plates of the skull. All the surgeries have been at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. The most recent surgery was just this past summer.

But Brett’s most recent story line is also an impressive one. He has set the goal of raising $10,000 for the annual Briggs & Al’s Run Walk this fall. The event, founded by the late Marquette basketball coach Al McGuire, benefits Children’s Hospital.

The Niederers have been participating in the walk-run for 10 years, said Brett’s mom, Lisa.

Brett set the ambitious fundraising goal amount due to a theme of 10. It has been 10 years since his craniosynostosis was diagnosed, which actually was late for detecting the disorder.

But the chief motivation is the gratitude Brett said he feels for the staff at Children’s.

“I did this because I wanted to give back to the nurses and Dr. Jensen,” Brett said.

Dr. John Jensen, Brett’s surgeon, and Brett have formed a special bond. Brett now wants to become a surgeon himself some day. And this summer when Brett asked Jensen to take photos during his surgery, the doctor obliged and shared them with him at a follow-up visit.

“It says a lot when a doctor will go above and beyond like that to connect with a kid,” Lisa said.

Briggs & Al’s Run Walk is in the fall. So Brett and his family plan to have a number of fundraisers between now and then to bring in the money to reach his goal. The first fundraiser is coming up Jan. 22 at Siebert’s Pub, 8403 Antioch Road. Brett’s parents — Lisa and Mark Niederer — will serve as celebrity bartenders, with 10 percent of profits that night going to Brett’s fundraising. There also will be live music, a 50/50 raffle and more.

Brett also has a bowling fundraiser planned and a fundraiser at Bristol School, where students and staff members, in exchange for a donation, will be able to wear an article of clothing — such as hats or jeans — that normally would not be allowed.

All along the way, Brett will be getting help from family for his walk/run team, dubbed Niederer INC. (I Need Children’s).

“We’re lucky to have the family we have,” Lisa said. “They have stood by us and are willing to help us with the fundraising too.”



  1. Kathie says:

    Wonderful people working for a great cause!

  2. Rebecca says:

    Can’t wait to share in these events with you! What an inspirational family!

  3. Katy Seiler says:

    Awesome Job. Dr. Jensen is our son’s dr and he is awesome!!!

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