Pay It Forward Donation Helps Newborn Recover after Heart Surgery
Born with transposed arteries and holes in her heart, baby Lainey was immediately life-flighted after birth. As bills from the infant’s surgeries mounted, the community took notice, and one Bell employee offered additional hope for the journey ahead.
Jill Huesman, part-time teller
Trevor Nelson and Jannel Szyszka
When beautiful baby Lainey was born on May 15, 2020, her parents, Trevor Nelson and Jannel Szyszka, were unaware of the challenges that lie ahead. Immediately after birth, the newborn was life-flighted from the hospital in Detroit Lakes, Minn., to Children’s Minnesota Hospital in Minneapolis.
Several complications with her heart – including two holes and transposed arteries – meant Lainey would spend 10 weeks in the intensive care unit. Doctors performed surgery to repair her heart, but were unsuccessful and followed up with another surgery to insert a pacemaker.
Jill Huesman, a part-time teller in Hawley, Minn., had gotten to know Trevor and Jannel through family, so when Jill heard Lainey and her parents had finally returned home, she knew she wanted to help.
“I reached out to them to see if I could bring something over,” Jill recalls. “I told them we could just meet outside, but they were insistent that I come in and meet baby Lainey. The rest is history!”
Jill handed the family a check for $5,550.
“We were shocked and cried when we received the check!” Jannel says. “It means the world to us that people care about our little girl. It helped us catch up on bills that we were behind on for 2 months from being in the hospital and not working. We thank you all from the bottom of our heart.”
While Lainey will undoubtedly require more surgeries as she gets older and her heart grows, the now 5-month-old seems to be doing well after her pacemaker was put in.
“This truly was one of the best Pay It Forward gifts I have given,” Jill says. “Their reaction and gratefulness was so overwhelming that it gave me goosebumps and tears in my eyes.”
Through the Pay It Forward program, Bell gives employees money each year to donate to people and causes they care about.