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Grief, gratitude and giving: A young family’s legacy

  • When a life is measured in hours, not years, each moment is significant. 

    The moments that Benita Bjorgo and Joe Van Sloun shared with their son, Aaron, before he died are among their most cherished memories. They were shaped in part by the sensitivity and compassion the couple observed in the nurses and doctors who cared for them at Abbott Northwestern Hospital. 

    “As Aaron was being prepared to be transferred to the NICU at Children’s, the nurses made sure that I saw him as I remained on the Operating Room table,” recalled Benita. “They took many pictures for us. And when Joe went to be with Aaron in the NICU while I was in recovery, the staff sat with me so I would not be alone. I could see the concern and caring in their eyes.” 

    In addition to losing Aaron, who was a triplet born prematurely, the couple lost his sisters, Faith and Grace. The conjoined twins had passed away in the womb. 

    But the couple has also known the happiness of welcoming two healthy children into their family. Ryan, age 6, is their oldest; and Rose, born earlier this year, is their youngest. 

    In 2013, Abbott Northwestern and Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota opened The Mother Baby Center, bringing together under one roof the entire spectrum of care for mothers, babies and families.

    Because their pregnancies were high-risk, the couple made sure to choose a doctor who would deliver at Abbott Northwestern and The Mother Baby Center. “We knew that they offered premiere care – now we can appreciate what that means,” said Joe.  

    In each delivery, whether joyful or heartbreaking, the care they received left a deep impression. These experiences made a profound difference in how they think about their lives, their community and their legacy.

    Donating to Abbott Northwestern Hospital Foundation is one way the couple chose to express their gratitude for excellent, compassionate care, while demonstrating their hope for the future.

    “We want to leave a legacy for our children of compassion, resilience and making a difference for others,” said Benita. “Giving to Abbott Northwestern Hospital Foundation fulfills that goal.” 

  • Donate today

    Make a gift today to The Mother Baby Center to help families and infants throughout the community and across the region. 

    Bjorgo-VanSloun Family

    Benita Bjorgo and Joe Van Sloun with their children, Ryan and Rose.