In 2003, Natalie and Ben were anxiously awaiting the arrival of their identical twin boys when they learned that one baby had nearly the worst of congenital heart defects, and his brother had an obstruction between his stomach and intestines. The boys were already considered high-risk, and now doctors were discussing major surgeries and months in the hospital.
Several weeks before her delivery, Natalie was admitted to the hospital, and a nurse recommended she start a personal CaringBridge website to keep their family and friends informed. Soon after her first update, Natalie discovered that CaringBridge was located nearby in Eagan, Minn., so she immediately reached out to volunteer her communication skills in any helpful way.
Finally, Owen and Logan arrived, and did better than expected. Over the next five years, the boys had 30 surgeries and procedures between the two of them. What started as a way to keep everyone informed, quickly turned into much more. “CaringBridge was our best way to update people, but we didn’t realize how cathartic it was or how important it was to have a place to share our story,” said Natalie. “CaringBridge gave us the strength to get through anything.”
Twelve years later, Natalie is still an active volunteer and CaringBridge is still integral to their communication process. Owen and Logan are thriving, but Logan will require a heart transplant in the next year. “CaringBridge has been this huge core thing in our lives for 12 years and it’ll always be a part of our lives,” said Natalie. “The emotional connection that happens on CaringBridge doesn’t happen anywhere else.”
Today, CaringBridge launches Hope. Healing. You., a two-week Fall giving campaign featuring the Bushaw family’s story. From September 15 through September 30, CaringBridge asks supporters to join them with a financial gift, honoring the hope and healing that occurs during a CaringBridge health journey. “I am grateful to have a service like CaringBridge empowering us to share our family’s story for more than a decade,” said Natalie.
The campaign features two generous matching gifts. The first match, donated by an anonymous friend of CaringBridge, doubles donations received on September 15 and 16 up to $10,000. The second match comes from CaringBridge donors who collectively donated $17,000 for a match on September 22 and 23.
“The CaringBridge connection has meant the world to me since the accident lost March that took my Chuck's life and left me critically injured. The ‘bridge’ was therapeutic and helped heal my soul.” – Pamela, a CaringBridge donor who helped build the $17,000 match
Nearly 90 percent of all funding comes from the people who use CaringBridge. A donation helps ensure that personal websites are available for every family facing a health crisis. Donors can have a powerful impact – making health journeys easier for families like the Bushaws. To learn more about making a tax-deductible contribution visit www.CaringBridge.org/give.
CaringBridge is a nonprofit organization created so people experiencing a health journey can rally their community during a time of need through the use of personal websites. Our mission is to amplify the love, hope and compassion in the world, making each health journey easier. Founded in 1997 by Sona Mehring, CaringBridge is cost-free and ad-free due to the generosity of donors. More than half a million CaringBridge websites have been created. Combined, they’ve received nearly two billion visits. For more information, visit www.CaringBridge.org.
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