Thank you all for your donations to Benton’s Hope on Giving Hearts Day 2019. With your help, we were able to raise $6,400 to help offer comfort to families experiencing child loss at Sanford Children’s Fargo. It is an honor for us to be able to remember your loved ones with you as we remember Bennie. We appreciate your support of our family and other bereaved families in our region. Thanks again for sharing the love.
Sean, Amy, Benton, Zoey, and Max Degerstrom
Our journey has brought us into our fourth trip around the sun without Benton. Child loss, through miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death, is a heartbreaking reality for so many families across our region. 1 in 4 pregnancies end without the joy of bringing baby home. However, it is not something to be silent about. What brought us through those darkest days was a seed of hope. Hope that our loss could do some good for others. Hope that our voices could be those that support the next family going through those circumstances, just as the community around us had guided our steps. Hope that the goodness, the extraordinary joy that Benton brought to our lives, could live on. One of our primary goals in creating Benton’s Hope was to let people know that they are not alone in these moments of darkness and fear. For in the darkness, we find the light. We love you, Bennie, forever and always. We think of you, we miss you. And THAT is why we #give and hope you will too. Please go to www.impactgiveback.org today, February 9, before midnight, to donate to Benton’s Hope on this Giving Hearts Day. Your dollar today will be matched up to $4000 and we encourage you to #GoMatchyMatchy with your friends to double your impact. Provide hope for families of child loss in our region, for “hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” (Shawshank Redemption). #GivingHearts17
Memory. We all create memories every day. But what if you were told that your time to make memories was short? That the future you had planned was limited because the diagnosis you received was “not compatible with life”? What a phrase to hear about your child. One no one ever should. How do you create a lifetime of memories in moments and days instead of years? It’s an overwhelming question. When we were faced with it, we knew right away that we would need a lot of help. And those around us gathered up and carried us, without thought to their own grief. Our phenomenal nurses figured out a way for us to hold our son, which we hadn’t been able to do, despite 4 chest tubes and 2 ventilators. Our chaplain organized a baptism and broke all the NICU rules by filling the room with people who loved us and our son. Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, a beautiful organization that provides professional photographs to families going through child loss at no charge, provided the amazing Megan Crown to gather images we will cherish forever. Friends lifted us up with thoughtful gestures, like bracelets and banners and clay for footprints and fingerprint necklaces and our son’s name on football helmets. We listened to Twins games and Vikings games and Skyped with far away family. We played the Beatles and learned that Bennie didn’t like when Ringo sang but loved I’ll Follow the Sun. We had beautiful, kind funeral directors who led us through the unthinkable process of burying our baby instead of bringing him home. We made memories. We are so very grateful for them and the opportunity to be surrounded by a community of love. We strive to give support to that community through Benton’s Hope by providing bereavement training for staff and access to objects and information that allow families to make their own. Because memories, while fleeting moments, are in fact what build the lives of those children that we miss so dearly. That is why we #give. #GivingHearts17 #GoMatchyMatchy#Feb9
Comfort. It is a simple word but one rich with meaning. Comfort can take on many forms and is different for each person on their journey through life. One of the things we learned very quickly once Benton was moved to the NICU is that the human need for comfort is strong, particularly when faced with crisis. How can you process this new, strange environment you never expected to be in? How can you navigate this sterile space that holds your most precious gift and seems so far from the comfort and warmth of the nursery you expected to be in? With small acts of kindness and offerings of hope. As we made our way from our small hospital, to a bigger one, to the last and biggest of them all, certain things kept us connected to the comfort of home. A soft blanket. A snuggly friend to hold when we needed to fill our empty arms or provide something soft to our son to feel us near him when we could not be there. The kindness and gentle touch of friends and family. Books for both us and our son to provide some sense of normalcy. A warm place to stay so that we could be close by. Information that gave us the power to make the best decisions we could in a terrible situation. Snacks and cards so we knew we were not alone. Journals to write our questions and thoughts in. Candles to allow us to remember when Bennie could not or was no longer able to be with us. All of these pieces eventually became the comfort kits that Benton’s Hope now provides to families going through similar circumstances. These pieces of comfort, though small, make an enormous impact on the feeling of support that everyone needs when faced with the worst and hardest days. This is why we #give.#GivingHearts17 #GoMatchyMatchy #Feb9
Our hearts opened the day Benton was born, in a way that only a parent can understand. He was our first. We were joyful. He was pink and lovely and beautiful and perfect (of course!). He cried. He wiggled. And then, he stopped. Stopped crying. Stopped wiggling. Struggled to breathe. There was confusion and fear and calm reassurances from our healthcare team that we would take him to a bigger hospital, to a higher level of care, and we’d solve the problem and move forward. Our hearts were scared, but hopeful. He moved to a different facility, one away from his mother who was stuck in the smaller hospital post emergency c-section and a father who was torn between the two. We learned, a piece at a time, what it meant to have a baby but not hold a baby. This was not our expected happy ending. This was hard and anxiety-filled and full of questions. And that is one of the many reasons why we work to give back to those who face similar challenges. That is why we #give #GivingHearts17 #GoMatchyMatchy #Feb9
Share the love on Giving Hearts Day 2017! Help Benton’s Hope raise money for continued support of acutely ill newborns, their families, and the staff that support them. Funds raised on Feb 9 will be matched (for every donation of $10 or more, up to $4000). How can you help?
1) Send a check. Checks must be dated February 9 and submitted the week prior to Giving Hearts Day. They should be made out to DMF-Benton’s Hope and can be mailed to the Dakota Medical Foundation, 4141 28th Ave S, Fargo, ND, 58104.
2) Give online. All online donations must be received ON FEBRUARY 9 (midnight to midnight) at impactgiveback.org. Search for “Benton’s Hope”.
#GoMatchyMatchy this year and encourage your friends, family, and co-workers to match your donations! Post your pictures to Mr. Matchy Matchy’s page! https://www.facebook.com/