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Allina Health in the News

Art display at United Hospital will commemorate 25th anniversary of CaringBridge

[KARE 11, September 23, 2022] 2022 marks the 25th anniversary of CaringBridge. While nearly everyone has used the site dedicated to keeping in touch with loved ones during a difficult time, not everyone knows its origin story. 

The Bridge in its name comes from a baby girl named Brighid Swanson. She was born 25 years ago at 24 weeks and weighed just 1 pound. Brighid did not survive long enough to make it home. During her hospital stay, she faced many complications, and her parents JoAnn Hardegger and Darrin Swanson were understandably overwhelmed emotionally. Their friend Sona Mehring, a computer programmer, offered to keep family and friends updated by creating a website (a novel idea at the time), and CaringBridge was born. 

“The care we received from the health care teams at both Children’s Minnesota and United Hospital still resonates in our hearts 25 years later,” said Darrin Swanson and JoAnn Hardegger. “We wanted to find a way to memorialize the place where CaringBridge and Brighid were born. Brighid’s heart still beats through the endless good that Sona and CaringBridge have done for us all.”
Commissioned artwork, painted by Connie Minowa, and sponsored by Sona Mehring and Hollstadt Consulting was unveiled at an event on Sept. 22. At a later date, it will be displayed at Allina Health’s United Hospital near the entrance to the Mother Baby Center and the NICU at Children’s Minnesota – St. Paul. Not only was Brighid born there but Darrin (now retired) worked at Allina Health’s United Hospital, where JoAnn still works as a wound ostomy clinician. 

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