AUSTIN, Minn. – Losing a child is the worst trauma a parent can face. It happened five years ago to an Austin family, but they’re determined to bring something positive out of their personal tragedy.
Michael Jordal of Austin said his daughter Kimberly Hope was born on Nov. 30th, 2011, but was only alive for 24 minutes.
“It’s just very difficult, seeing her, she looked so perfect,” said Michael. “It was just hard when that’s all you get is that time.”
Michael said they learned during his wife Kate’s pregnancy that she has a condition called incompetent cervix.
“It’s just where once the baby starts gaining weight, the cervix just doesn’t allow the baby to continue to gestate for the proper about of time.”
After finding out the condition, Kate was able to have another pregnancy soon after Kimberly with help of a medical procedure that would allow her to carry the baby full-term. The couple had Griffin Jordal in 2013.
“I love mommy and daddy,” said 3-year-old Griffin. “I’m going to go hug them.”
Five years after the tragedy, the Jordal family put up the Christmas tree on Kimberly’s birthday. Griffin hung special decorations in honor of his sister.
“This one is for my sister,” said Griffin.
Kate said they wanted Kimberly’s legacy to be remembered — that way people would know about her and her memory could live on, so they created a scholarship in Kimberly’s name for students going into the nursing or medical field at Forest City High School, where Kate and Michael graduated.
“We both received a lot of scholarships funds when we graduated and it was really nice thing to do to honor someone as a remembrance,” said Kate.
The scholarship started the following May after the couple had Kimberly, and it’s still there. Kate said the scholarship started at $500 and increased to $600 this past year, and she believes the amount is only going to go up in the future.
But that’s not all. While Kate was on bed rest pregnant with Griffin, she decided to create Causes for Kimberly. She said the group helps raise funds for organizations in the month of November including March of Dimes, the Jack Vasel Memorial Fund and Molly Bears.
“Those are just some personal causes that we value locally.”
Michael said some days are really tough and they wish Kimberly was here. But he said it’s important that people going through a similar situation know they’re not alone.