Even small gifts change lives

Pay It Forward

Bell Employees Rally Around Infant in Need of Heart Transplant

When Bell Bank employee Rachel Meske found out her friends’ infant son – who’d been on the heart-transplant list – was finally getting his heart, she decided to use her Pay It Forward funds to help. In rallying her co-workers to join her effort, Rachel knew she’d be able to make an even bigger impact, but she didn’t expect the response she received.
“I never imagined [the Pay It Forward donation] would’ve gotten to that level. I know Katie and Betsey, and they're good friends of mine, but nobody else knew who they were. They just gave from their heart. This is a life-changing moment for them – and for me.” – Rachel Meske, wealth and fiduciary advisor


Bell Employee

Rachel Meske, VP/Wealth & Fiduciary Advisor
Fargo, N.D.

Recipients

Katie Staley and Betsy Olesen
William’s parents

The Need

When Katie Staley was 20 weeks pregnant, she went in for an anatomy scan to find out the baby’s gender. But in addition to finding out they were having a boy, Katie and Betsy Olesen also found out their son had an abnormality in his anatomy and heart structure.

Baby William was diagnosed with heterotaxy syndrome, a rare condition where organs in the chest and abdomen are abnormally arranged. When William was born – at 38 weeks and 5 days – he went straight to the cardiovascular care center. At 2 weeks old, he was listed for a heart transplant, and after more than 300 days in the hospital, William finally got the heart he so desperately needed.

The Impact

Rachel Meske has known Katie since college, and when she found out her friend’s son would be getting a heart, she decided to use her Pay It Forward funds to help in William’s transition home from the hospital.

Rachel emailed co-workers to join in the effort and ended up raising $20,300 for the family.

“I never imagined it would’ve gotten to that level,” Rachel remarks. “I know Katie and Betsey, and they're good friends of mine, but nobody else knew who they were. They gave from their heart. This is a life-changing moment for them – and for me.”

Rachel delivered the check just before William’s first birthday.

“It was just this overwhelming mountain of emotion,” Katie says.

“I was just floored to be honest,” noted Betsy. “Kind of like, ‘How could people be so generous?’”

Through the Pay It Forward program, Bell gives employees money each year to donate to people and causes they care about.