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August 25, 2008

Rush NeuroBehavioral Center(RNBC) Honors North Shore Resident Carole Sandner

Carole Sandner -- mother of eight adopted children who range in age from 40 to eight years old -- will receive the Creating the Future Award from the Rush NeuroBehavioral Center (RNBC) at the Center’s twelfth Annual Awards Dinner on October 16, at Four Seasons Hotel Chicago at 120 East Delaware Place.

Sandner’s award celebrates the success of a family who takes the challenge of a child with neurobehavioral issues as an opportunity to create an environment for their child to grow, develop and reach their highest potential. The event raises money to support RNBC’s education, community outreach, research and professional training initiatives.

Sandner, who now lives in Lake Bluff, Illinois, grew up in Mishawaka/South Bend, Indiana. As the oldest of 12 children of divorced parents with a mere 13 years’ difference between Carole and the youngest sibling, Sandner recalls assuming the role of “caretaker” early on in life.

In 1966, Carole met her husband, Jack. She was in nurses training at St. Joseph Hospital in South Bend, IN. He was a law student at Notre Dame. Shortly after they were married, the Sandners adopted their first child, who is now 40 and married, with two children of her own. Carole and Jack eventually adopted seven more children.

Sandner learned about brain-based neurological issues in her first meeting with Jack, who has been quite open about the struggles, challenges and potential benefits of his neurobehavioral issues. Jack learned to harness the extra energy and activity from his Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD.) Today he says that in spite of and because of his neurobehavioral issues he was able to become an extraordinarily successful businessman in Chicago’s financial community.

From early in their marriage Carole Sandner carried an enormous load. She juggled raising children with attending nursing school. She became an RN and worked at Lake Forest Hospital in the oncology department for many years before “retiring” to focus full time on her family. 

When Sander first became aware that one of her older children was not able to keep up in school, she recalls being told that her child was probably just “lazy” or “unmotivated.” Sandner refused to accept this explanation and became fully engaged in a search for resources and answers. Those efforts led her to Dr. Meryl Lipton, who at the time was just starting up RNBC. Sandner did not hesitate to tap into every resource at RNBC and in the community. Eventually, those efforts paid high dividends for six of her eight children who have faced learning and behavioral challenges. Sandner has always taken a positive and highly individualized approach with each of her children. She is an important force in their growth and development.

Sandner, a tireless advocate on behalf of her children, always acts as part of the solution helping them overcome their challenges, ensuring their emotional well-being and educational success into adulthood. In addition to being a very involved mom who still has three children living at home, Carole is active in and serves on the boards of numerous community organizations. Says Carole’s youngest sister, Rose Haage -- who, in earlier years, lived with Carole and looked up to her almost as a second mother -- “when there is a challenge, Carole is there to take it on.”

RNBC serves the medical, psychological and educational needs of children with brain-based learning and behavior problems, specializing in social-emotional learning disorders. The Center, established in 1997, is part of the pediatrics department at Rush University Medical Center. RNBC is comprised of a team of multidisciplinary professionals who diagnose and treat children with neurobehavioral disorders. The Center’s approach is to understand each child’s strengths and weaknesses within the context of the family and school. RNBC is committed to increasing the knowledge and awareness of neurobehavioral disorders through research, training, community outreach and education.

For more information regarding the RNBC Twelfth Annual Awards Dinner or RNBC programs and services, please contact Elizabeth Cohen at (847) 763-7935 or You may also visit the RNBC website at


RushUniversity Medical Center is an academic medical center that encompasses the more than 600 staffed-bed hospital (including Rush Children’s Hospital), the Johnston R. Bowman Health Center and Rush University.  Rush University, with more than 1,270 students, is home to one of the first medical schools in the Midwest, and one of the nation’s top-ranked nursing colleges. Rush University also offers graduate programs in allied health and the basic sciences.  Rush is noted for bringing together clinical care and research to address major health problems, including arthritis and orthopedic disorders, cancer, heart disease, mental illness, neurological disorders and diseases associated with aging.

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