Duluth family outlines how Northern Lights Foundation grant made a difference

Baihly Warfield
Updated: December 08, 2020 08:41 AM
Created: December 08, 2020 06:00 AM

Tara Aleshire's pregnancy was smooth.

She and her now-husband, Justin Aleshire, welcomed little Amelia to the world Nov. 2, 2019. They got to introduce her to immediate family right away and then were spending some time as a new family of three in the hospital room.

But about three hours after she was delivered, Tara noticed something seemed off. 

"She started making some weird breathing styles," Tara described. 

When a nurse came in, the Aleshires told her about their concerns.

"She put the stethoscope on her back, and she didn't even say anything. She just took her," Tara remembered. 

A hemorrhage had led to fluid buildup in Amelia's brain, a condition called hydrocephalus. She spent two weeks in the NICU at St. Mary's Medical Center and was then flown to Children's Minnesota in St. Paul. 

Doctors there were able to surgically remove the clot and then drain the fluid. But they also told the Aleshires they likely had a long road ahead. 

"Her story's pretty incredible from the gloomy front end that we had. The diagnosis was basically a life of very hard disabilities and special needs, and we were ready for it. We were going to take it on. But you know, she's just proved everybody wrong. She's just a little miracle."

While the Aleshires were going through all the ups and downs, they received a grant from the Northern Lights Foundation, an organization Tara was already familiar with. She works in the dental field, and Ken Larson, the nonprofit's founder, was a dentist in Duluth. So she'd helped out before, performing at the More Cowbell fundraiser. 

"It was really crazy to have life come full circle from being this supporter of such an amazing foundation and then to being a recipient," she said. 

The Aleshires said it was crucial to be given some money that wasn't already earmarked for a particular expense. 

"We just had a lot going on at that time and a lot of money going out for her," Justin Aleshire said. "It was just nice to be able to count on that money to help us get along." 

And now, it's their life mission to spread the word. 

"It really moved us," Tara said. "You can't even explain how important those things are during those times."

You can help the Northern Lights Foundation to continue the mission of providing no-strings-attached grants for families supporting children with life-threatening illnesses by donating online here. Or call into the WDIO and Hom Furniture phone bank on Tuesday during all WDIO broadcasts. The number is 1-877-949-0383. 


Baihly Warfield

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