Small gestures make a big difference

Grand gestures may get the most attention, but small acts of kindness can make a big difference when people are most vulnerable.

Brian and Dana Martodam learned firsthand how such acts can renew the spirit. A kind gesture from someone they did not know stands out in their memory of an extremely challenging period in their lives. It even inspired them to donate to Abbott Northwestern Hospital Foundation as way to help others facing similar circumstances.

Their challenges began more than a year ago when Dana’s third pregnancy suddenly became high risk. Thirty weeks into the pregnancy, her water broke. She was transferred by ambulance to The Mother Baby Center at Abbott Northwestern and Children’s - Minnesota, where her medical team took steps to stop labor and speed up the baby’s lung development. 

That was just days before Christmas. Not only were Brian and Dana worried about their baby – they also had two young children at home. “This was very heavy news. And I was floored when I realized I wouldn’t be home for Christmas,” said Dana. 

“As a spouse, you feel helpless because there’s not a lot you can do,” recalled Brian. “I was worried about her and the baby. At the same time, I was managing my job and taking care of our older daughters. Neither of us had ever gone through anything like that before.”

One day, weeks into her hospitalization, a family who had been in the antepartum unit years earlier arranged for a special gift: enough pizza for all the families there. “It was just a small gesture, but I remember it like it was yesterday,” said Brian. “We had a pizza party in Dana’s room.”

Days later, on Jan. 6, 2018, their son, Bennett was born, and after several weeks in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit and Special Care Nursery, he was able to go home.

As Bennett’s one-year birthday approached, the Martodams decided to launch a small gesture of their own. In collaboration with Brian’s employer, Three Bridge Solutions, they provided retail gift cards for every family in the Special Care Nursery. “When families are going through that with their infant, it’s an emotional burden and a financial burden,” said Brian. “We wanted to do something that would touch each of them.”

“After spending almost two months there, The Mother Baby Center has a special place in our hearts,” said Brian. 

Martodam family

Brian and Dana Martodam, and their children, Ashlyn, Taylor and Bennett.

Paying it forward

Kind gestures go a long way when families are coping with health challenges. Help families like the Martodams – give today.