Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Best NICUs

U.S. News does a report regarding the best Children's Hospitals.  And Children's Minneapolis and Amplatz Children's Hospital both were in the top 50 in the country for having the best Neonatology Units.  We are so proud to support awesome NICUs here in Minnesota. Ella's Halo is proud to  support Children's Minneapolis, Children's St. Paul, and Amplatz Children's Hospital NICUs. 

Check the link here to read more.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thank You

Wow!  Saturday was such a fun day bowling for babies.  We raised $10,000 to help little ones in the NICU.  How amazing is that!

Thank you to our awesome event sponsors.  Your support is so appreciated!

Clinic Sofia Logo


Brian & Laura Bredenberg

Another thank you to our lane sponsors:
Andy and Chelsea Marthaler
Jenny and Michael Reyes
Natural Nutrients

A huge thank you to our many volunteers and board members.  Tracy, Alisha, Diana, Gail, Shanna, Lynn, Angela, Misha and Sharzy.....thanks for your help on Saturday!  We couldn't have done it without you.

Thank you to Park Tavern for providing a fun venue for our bowling event.

And last but not least, thank you to all of our supporters who showed up to bowl for babies.  It was a fun day!

Friday, May 13, 2011


Tomorrow is the big day!  It has been a crazy and hectic last few days but we are so excited and can't wait for another fun Bowling for Babies event.

Here is a quick run down of the day and of the many awesome prizes we have.

What: Ella's Halo Bowling for Babies

Place: Park Tavern Bowling and Entertainment Center, St. Louis Park Minnesota

Time: Saturday, May 14th from 2:00 - 5:00 pm

Event Schedule:  Raffle begins at 4:00pm with the Silent Auction ending at 4:30pm

General Raffle:  1 night stay at Marriott, Twin Cities Live Tickets, Casino stays, MN Science Museum Tickets, $50 gift card to Target, Wine Tasting passes at St. Croix Winery, Tastefully Simple gift set, Rocket Club signed CD, MN Lynx Tickets, Lia Sophia necklace, Ipod, Percy Harvin autographed photo, MN Wild gift set, Duluth gift pack to Great Lakes Aquarium and Vista Fleet, $25 gift card to Crave, Free dessert from Caffe Latte, St. Paul Saints Tickets, MN Twins Tim Laudner autographed photo, $75 Pazzaluna gift card and much more!

Individual Raffles:  American Girl and Stages Theatre gift set, Mall of America gift set, Yoda Bowling Ball and bowling passes, mom and baby gift set with photography session, ladies gift set with an 1 hour massage, and a northern MN golf course gift pack.

Silent Auctions:  We-Fest Tickets, Date Night at the Gutherie and Seven, Twins Tickets, TPC Golf Pack, a handmade quilt, and Disney passes with 2 airline tickets.

Must be present to win raffles and door prize.  Silent Auction closes out at 4:30.

***And don't forget, we have a fun door prize for all bowling guests and a couple of mystery prizes as well.  Early bird ticket buyers will be entered into a separate drawing to receive a gift too. 

Kids can come and get their face painted and to pick a prize. And there will be pizza available at 3:30 for all bowlers who worked up an appetite.

Coffee with KARE talked about Ella's Halo on Wednesday morning. Here is the link to check it out.  And the Star Tribune did their story on Ella's Halo on Tuesday. 

What a fun week it has been and what a fun day tomorrow will be.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Star Tribune Article

Today Ella's Halo was featured in the Star Tribune.  Here is the link or read the article below.  Thanks Jean for writing such a beautiful piece about Ella's Halo. 

Charity helps parents of preemies
Article by: Jean Hopfensperger , Star Tribune

Taryn Krumwiede wasn't expecting to give birth when she went to the emergency room for what she thought was a minor pregnancy complication.

But daughter Ella was born that March evening in 2009, weighing just over a pound. Krumwiede and husband, Ryan, found themselves reeling with emotions and unprepared in many ways for a round-the-clock vigil of their daughter.

"When we went to the hospital, I just had a purse,'' said Krumwiede, of Richfield. "We didn't have toothbrushes, not even a piece of paper to write the doctor's name on.

"But we weren't about to leave,'' she said. "Those first few hours, few days, are critical.''

Baby Ella died 83 days later. The couple decided to direct their heartbreak into something positive, creating a nonprofit called Ella's Halo to help other parents in similar straits.

The nonprofit gives parents some basic creature comforts to tide them over in those first frightening hours. It has donated hundreds of "welcome bags'' for parents at Children's Hospitals in St. Paul and Minneapolis containing items such as cameras, toiletries, reusable water bottles, pens and notebooks.

It also donates CD players, soft lullaby music and even molding kits that make replicas of baby footprints or hands. Those donations go directly to the neonatal intensive care units of several hospitals.

For brothers and sisters in the waiting room, Ella's Halo donates toys, books and DVDs.

The Krumwiedes get their donation ideas by visiting support groups for parents of premature infants. Their work continues to expand, even though both hold full-time jobs. Taryn Krumwiede works in human resources and Ryan is an advertising representative.

"I still consider it a hobby,'' joked Taryn. "But I'm not sure that's how my husband feels.''

On Saturday, Ella's Halo's second annual "Bowling for Babies" fundraiser will be held at the Park Tavern Bowling and Entertainment Center in St. Louis Park. Kids are welcome. For more information, go to www.ellashalo.com.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

Thank you Ella. 

Thank you for blessing me as your mommy.  Thank you for giving me the best 83 days of my life.  Thank you for letting me kiss your little toes and rub your sweet little blond head.  Thank you for making our moms, Grandmas. Thank you for giving me such wonderful memories with my daughter.  Thank you for being such an inspiration to me and your daddy.  And thank you for letting me hold an angel in my arms. 

Friday, May 6, 2011

We Heart Nurses

Today kicks off National Nurses Day. Nurses Day is always celebrated on May 6th and kicks off National Nurses Week. National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6th and ends on May 12th with activities for nurses throughout the week to celebrate all that they do.  So this week we thank all of the nurses that work long hours on their feet helping our babies, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers.

Thank you to the NICU Nurses that not only give babies special care but the scared parents who need some guidance along the way too.  And a very special thank you to our primary nurses that cared for our baby girl Ella in the NICU.  Diana, Pat, Betsy, Amy and Jess.....We heart you!  It is the NICU nurses that help make the exhausting roller-coaster ride a little easier.  It is their compassion and love of their job that is truly an inspiration.

Thank you NURSES......We HEART you!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Area Events

There are so many fun events coming up to help hospitals, babies, children, families and NICUs.  Here are just a few to check out.

  • Baby Steps 3K and Children's NICU Reunion - This will be a fun filled day for NICU families to walk together and catch up. This event is set for June 4th at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.  Ella's Halo is helping to sponsor this event too!
  • And don't forget BOWLING FOR BABIES on May 14th.  Check it out here and KARE 11 will be doing a little bit on May 11th about our upcoming event too. We are looking forward to a family fun filled day helping to raise money for Children's Hospital NICUs in Minneapolis and St. Paul and University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital NICU. Purchase your tickets, come by the lanes on May 14th, eat pizza, do some raffles, get your face painted and don't forget to bowl for babies. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

May Feature Family

At the beginning of each month we will have a NICU family tell their story about life in the NICU with their baby. Our hope is that by featuring different families others will have a better understanding of the difficult, roller-coaster ride many face when their baby is in the NICU.

For this month's feature family, I thought this family would be perfect to share their NICU story, especially today as we would be seeing them at the March of Dimes Walk.  The Case family was the 2010 March of Dimes Ambassadors and have been big supporters of the March of Dimes over the last three years.  They also shared their story on CaringBridge back in October 2009 and Heidi is on the Children's St. Paul STEPs NICU Parent Committee.  We are so lucky to have the Case family as supporters and friends of Ella's Halo. 

Ellery Case
Written by Heidi Case
Former NICU Mommy

Two and a half years ago my daughter, Ellery was only given a 5% chance to survive. Her story begins when I was 30 weeks pregnant; doctors discovered my unborn daughter was critically ill with a rare and life-threatening condition called Fetal Hydrops. The mortality rate of Hydrops is up to 98%, as it's a condition where fluid overtakes a baby's body. Ellery's heart and lungs were surrounded by fluid, which prevented her lungs from fully developing. For three weeks we watched our baby continue to worsen through ultrasound, and our medical team finally said enough was enough when the fluid spread to Ellery's abdomen. At 33 weeks gestation, my very sick baby was born seven weeks early; she came out blue, limp and not a whimper of a cry as fluid surrounded her heart and lungs which made it impossible for her little lungs to inflate.

Neonatology staff at Children's worked on my daughter, and finally stabilized her after the longest 25 minutes of our lives. She then began her 28 day NICU stay. Within my daughter's first 24 hours, she developed a deadly lung condition called pulmonary hypertension, high blood pressure in the lungs. This condition doesn't allow the heart to push oxygen to the body. Ellery was put on nitric oxide to treat this condition, but my husband and I were told to expect the worst. We were called in multiple times in her first two days and told she had no reserves left, and she could leave us at any moment. I can't put into words what it's like watching your baby fight for her life - you really just go through the motions and go into survival mode for your child...and for yourself.

Ellery endured so many medical issues: congenital chylothorax, pulmonary hypertension, multiple pneumothorax, severe reflux (GERD), and jaundice. She required multiple blood transfusions, fresh frozen plasma, multiple chest tubes and sometimes hourly pokes for blood gas draws. It's exhausting just thinking about it and typing it now, I don't know how I lived it - it seems surreal now.

The "mommy guilt" of leaving one child to be with another was horrible. Leaving our then almost two year old son to be with Ellery made me cry and wishing God could put me in two places at once. I'll never forget leaving for the hospital one afternoon only to have my mom call me saying Wyatt was crying for me. It's one of the worst feelings in the world when both your babies need you.

The journey was long and painful, it took a toll on our marriage, our family, our son and our parents. The NICU stay was grueling, as we stayed with Ellery almost every night - fearing that would be the night something terrible would happen. Looking back, we were so incredibly fortunate to have a private NICU room where we were able to stay with our baby. And the staff was top notch, especially the doctor studying to be a neonatologist, Dr. Christina who followed Ellery; she holds a very special place in my heart! We're were so lucky to have such advanced medical staff caring for our child.

Today, Ellery has developmental delays; she not walking yet (but VERY close) and she has a speech delay. But she is a happy, healthy, beautiful two and a half year old stubborn little girl!! She loves to color, wear jewelry and steal her brother's Matchbox cars! She will start pre-school this fall and continues to do well in therapy.

We have Children's Hospital of St. Paul Staff and the March of Dimes to thank for Ellery's love of Barbies today, as it was their amazing work, and the March of Dimes' funding that made the research and development possible for nitric oxide! Without that therapy, my little girl would not be here. The March of Dimes has funded many other instrumental life-saving therapies that save thousands of preemies and sick babies every day! Their work is amazing, powerful and helps families be just that - a family. 
Through the last two and a half years we've shared Ellery's story countless times and tried to put our difficult times to good. One way we give back is walking in the March of Dimes' March for Babies walk. We walk as team Ellery's Entourage in honor of Ellery, but also in honor and memory of all little ones born too soon or too sick. Thank you for following Ella's Halo's blog and for supporting their mission. We're also proud to support Ella's Halo and firmly believe in their mission and cause! We're proud to know Taryn and Ryan, and see the amazing work they do for others.

Thank you for allowing me to share Ellery's story - I hope her story brings you hope and inspiration that miracles can happen! If you're a family in the NICU now, may God bless you and see you through this time.
~Heidi Case - Wyatt and Ellery's mom