Unveiling of Artwork to Honor 25th Anniversary of CaringBridge

Eagan, Minn. – (Sept. 21, 2022) – Members of the media are invited to attend a special art unveiling at the CaringBridge Office on September 22nd.

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 Mae 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, will be unveiled at the event on Thursday. Sona Mehring and Hollstadt Consulting sponsored the artwork which will later 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.

“We are incredibly grateful that JoAnn and Darrin chose to include Allina Health in this tribute to their daughter and her legacy that lives on through CaringBridge,” said Jill Ostrem, president, United and Mercy Hospitals. “We hope the nature-themed artwork brings a moment of joy to patients, families, care teams, employees and visitors as they pass through our halls.”

About Allina Health    

Allina Health is dedicated to the prevention and treatment of illness and enhancing the greater health of individuals, families and communities throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin. A not-for-profit health care system, Allina Health cares for patients from beginning to end-of-life through its 90+ clinics, 10 hospitals, 15 retail pharmacies, specialty care centers and specialty medical services that provide home care, senior health, hospice care, and emergency medical transportation services. Learn more at allinahealth.org and join us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About CaringBridge

CaringBridge is a nonprofit social network that helps people connect with friends and family during a health journey. Founded in Eagan, Minn. in 1997 by Sona Mehring, CaringBridge has made it simple and safe to offer or ask for support when it’s needed most. With more than 400,000 active daily users—CaringBridge offers simple tools for patients and their caregivers to share health updates and rally their community’s support. A health journey of any kind—diagnosis, injury, medical or behavioral illness, pregnancy complications or other experiences—is difficult to endure alone. CaringBridge is here to ensure that no one goes through a health journey alone.

About Hollstadt Consulting

Hollstadt Consulting is a woman-owned consulting firm that delivers customized talent solutions built on authentic lasting relationships. We hire and place consultants in a wide variety of roles within the IT and Business project lifecycle. Our clients trust our expertise to find top talent, and our consultants love the value and options we bring them. The diversity of opportunities within IT and business teams across so many industries is hard to find at any other firm.

Allina Media Contact

Jenny Griswold Steingas



CaringBridge Media Contact

Katrina Wallmeyer