Tuesday, November 30, 2010


With the passing of Thanksgiving, I realized how thankful I am for many things in my life.  One thing that is new to my list is that I am thankful for the work of nonprofits.  I never knew how much time, giving of talents, and love was put into making a successful nonprofit.  Here are a few nonprofits that have touched me this year and I am so thankful they are helping others in our area.

  • The Ronald McDonald House-  The Ronald McDonald House creates, finds and supports programs that directly improve the health and well being of children.  They help families stay together during times of need.  They provide a warm home environment for families to stay while a child is in the hospital or needing health care at a local hospital.  This past fall we helped serve food at the Ronald McDonald House in Minneapolis.  It was such a wonderful way for us to give back.  Many of our friends in the NICU spend time at the Ronald McDonald House too.  Click here to learn more.
  • CaringBridge-CaringBridge provides free websites that connect people experiencing a significant health challenge to family and friends, making each health journey easier.  I never had an experience with CaringBridge until Ella was born.  It made it easier for us to share her story without having to repeat it over and over. Now I realize how important it is for family and friends on the outside as well.  We have friends who currently are sharing their journeys on CaringBridge and I love how we can know what is going on with our loved one without having to keep bugging the family with phone calls, texts and emails.  We still can feel connected whether it be reading the journey or sharing the story.  We know how important connection is in the hospital and so we continue to spread the word about CaringBridge to other NICU families.  Click here to learn more.
  • Faith's Lodge- Faith's Lodge provides a place where parents and families facing the serious illness or death of a child can retreat to reflect on the past, renew strength for the present, and build hope for the future. If you have read my blog in the past, you know how much we love Faith's Lodge.  As a bereaved parents, to us it was the place that wrapped its arms around us and helps us start the long healing process.  We continue to give back to Faith's Lodge either by attending their events, taking part in their parent outreach committee, or donating money in memory of Ella.  Ella has a beautiful stone placed on the pathway up at Faith's Lodge.  A little piece of us will always be there.  Click here to learn more.
  • March of Dimes-March of Dimes' mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.  Their website provides lots of information to NICU families.  I remember sitting in the family lounge at the hospital searching information about prematurity and NICU terms so that we could be advocates for Ella.  This year we walked in their March of Babies as Team Krumwiede. It was inspiring to be there walking alongside other preemies who started out at 24 weeks like our little Ella.  The March of Dimes provides education and research so that other babies have the chance to come home some day.  Click here learn more.
  • Ella's Halo- (of course)-  Ella's Halo is helping to bring small comforts of home to NICU families.  This past year has been amazing!  We have had two successful events, have started working with all 3 Level III hospitals in the Twin Cities, and have started to raise awareness to others about what Ella's Halo is all about.  I am looking forward to the new year and all of the exciting things Ella's Halo will continue to do for families.  I know now that it doesn't have to be much to touch some one's life and that is exactly what we hope Ella's Halo does for NICUs.  Bringing comfort to help babies and families and making their journeys easier. 
All of these nonprofits have touched my heart in the last 20 months.  And now that we have officially hit Black Friday and Cyber Monday it gets me thinking about how I can give back to these organizations.  What can we donate to help them?  How can I help them help others?  Because without them families would have a harder journey.  These nonprofits are helping families and I am thankful to help be a part of them now too.

Monday, November 22, 2010


This commercial stars one of Ella's doctors from the NICU. Every time I see it air on TV, it brings a smile to my face. University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital - Because Commercial shows the compassion of their doctors in the NICU. We remember firsthand the dedication of Dr. George and his colleagues. The doctors in the NICU cared for Ella but also cared about us, her parents. Not because they had to, but just because! Our memories with our daughter also include memories with the doctors and nurses at Amplatz because they became part of our NICU family.

So during this holiday season, I am so grateful for the team of doctors and nurses that take care of many little babies in the NICU. Not only at Amplatz, but also at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis and Children's Hospital in St. Paul. Thank you for your service to families and especially to our precious little miracles each and every day.  Not because you have to, but just because you do!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Odds and Ends

  • November is National Prematurity Awareness Month.  Prematurity is the leading cause of death among newborn babies. Our own little girl was born 16 weeks premature and ultimately ended up passing away after 83 days of fighting.  November 17th, 2010 is National Prematurity Awareness Day and we are wearing purple to support all babies who are born too soon.  The March of Dimes has done wonderful research to help bring awareness to this very special cause.
  • Ryan and I are having a NICU tour at Children's Hospital-Minneapolis.  We are excited to meet another new contact in the NICU and spreading our help to some new families.  We know we will enjoy visiting this unit since it is newly remodeled.  Can't wait to share some of our fun ideas to help babies and families.  We are also putting together care packages for Children's-St. Paul for newly admitted families and babies.  Can't wait to share with them in December!
  • As the holidays are approaching we have many people looking for ways to give back to NICUs. Ella's Halo set up a Target Wish List here.  You can click on the link and see what items you can purchase for us to donate to area hospitals.  Also we are always collecting blankets and books so email info@ellashalo.com for more information.
  • Also this week, the Star Tribune is doing the Full Page Project. They will donate a full page of advertising space to be used by the local non-profit organization selected by readers in an online poll. Please go and vote for Ella's Halo.  You may vote once per hour until 5 pm, Sunday, Nov. 21.  A full page ad in the Star Tribune would be so beneficial for us in helping us spread our mission to others and get the word out about bringing comfort to NICUs.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Give to the Max

Give to the Max Day is November 16th!

Please support one of your favorite Minnesota charities, Ella's Halo,  by donating on GiveMN. Every donation you make gives Ella's Halo the chance to win even more money.  Your gift makes an even bigger difference on November 16. So, please plan to give tomorrow and tell your friends and family to give. Give to the Max Day is about all of us coming together to support nonprofits who work tirelessly to improve the quality of life in Minnesota.

Visit the Ella's Halo page on GiveMN.org: http://givemn.razoo.com/story/Ellas-Halo.  GiveMN.org is an easy way to discover, support and engage with charities online.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

This I Believe

I believe that Ella's little life touched my soul so deeply that I have forever been changed.  I sometimes forget that her life may have also touched our family and friends too. I forget that even though others may not know her, they are being changed by the help we are providing in her memory. 

Sometimes I get worried that others will soon forget Ella and my heart aches. But almost like someone from above knew I needed a little reminder, we receive a sweet email.  Ryan's cousin's daughter Katie was asked to write an essay for a class assignment.  She is 13 years old and decided to write a beautiful paper on Ella.  

This I Believe - By Katie

I believe that when something goes terribly wrong you should make some good out of it. For Ryan and Taryn Krumwiede they did exactly that. Two years ago in late March, Ella Jo Krumwiede was born. About two and half months later she got sick. The hospital treated her hoping it would help but, unfortunately, she didn’t respond and died.

Ella Jo Krumwiede’s story from birth to death. On March 25th my dad’s whole side of the family was full of joy because we now had a new addition to our big family. But we all were concerned because she was sixteen weeks premature and only weighed one pound one ounce. We all knew that there was going to be problems that we would have to go through. There would be times we would just cry from being happy or sad, and that things would happen that we never expected. Because of her being premature we were all worried about what could happen. We wondered if she would have trouble breathing because her lungs might not have been fully developed. We worried she might be deaf or blind or even have cerebral palsy. We hoped and hoped that she didn’t and that she would survive all of this. But 83 days after she was born she was gone. She had gotten a disease and shortly after that she died.

Most people would try and forget about the death or hope that, in time, the pain would pass. Instead of forgetting or waiting, Ryan and Taryn started an organization called Ella’s Halo. The organization is for babies and their families. They try to give them a more homey place in the hospital while their baby is in there. They make blankets for the hospital beds and also for the babies. They also give books, music and movies for the parents and sibling or siblings to have something to do. Just last year they had gotten over 7,000 dollars in donations.

How does Taryn feel about the death of her daughter and the organization that her and her husband started? Taryn feels that Ella’s fight was over and that it was her time to go. She now knows that Ella is now in a better place. But she knew that she couldn’t just let her go, so she found a way to hold onto Ella. She and her husband started Ella’s Halo. Not just to hold on to Ella, but to also help other babies that were like Ella Jo.

How do I feel about Ella Jo’s death? Because she was my cousin I’ve always felt really sad that she had died. Every time I see a picture or video that she’s in I cry. I wish that I would `have seen her in person not just in pictures. But even though I never really saw or met my baby cousin, I know that she is important to me and I will never forget her.

Since Ella Jo’s death. Ryan and Taryn are doing positive things. They found a way to overcome Ella’s death by helping out other babies. Even though they might think back to that situation and just cry, they know that good things have come out of it and that they’re helping out many babies and families all around Minnesota.

Thank you Katie for remembering Ella and for sharing her story so beautifully.  Your essay shows the love of family no matter what and this I believe is what Ella's story is all about!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Ella's Halo was recently featured on LaunchHer's website.  This wonderful website provides the boost that women-owned brands need by featuring new and fresh companies as well as being a support of PR and development to women-owned companies.  However, LaunchHer did a special series on their blog.  Ella's Halo was featured at what LaunchHer was loving.  How fun is that! 

Check out their blog here to read our story and check out their website at http://www.launchher.com/.  See how so many other amazing women are creating businesses they love.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

October 30th

Saturday brought beautiful blue skies...

a group of eager 5K racers...

many wonderful families to walk...

and two loving parents of Ella.

Thank you to everyone who came out and joined us for our Strides for NICUs.  It was a beautiful day, we had 100 particpants for the run/walk and raised over $3,000. October 30th was simply a beautiful day.

Thank you to our sponsors:
Judd and Soleil Palubicki
Sewer Service Inc.
Wilson Family