Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

“Life can change in an instant”: A Minnesota family in need January 10, 2013

IT IS THE MOMENT we all fear—the late night phone call, the unexpected knock on the door.

For Nina Hedin, a young mother from Glencoe whom I highlighted in a magazine feature about 10 Minnesota bloggers, fear became reality on Saturday afternoon. Her husband, Tom, was seriously injured in a snowmobile accident.

Photo of Nina Hedin published in Minnesota Moments, winter 2012 issue.

I got to know Nina about a year ago, when she was among 10 Minnesota bloggers highlighted in a feature I wrote for Minnesota Moments magazine. This photo of Nina published in that winter 2012 story.

Here then, in Nina’s words, is the beginning of her family’s new reality:

I’ve told this story so many times over the last two days that the words are flying out of my fingers and onto this computer faster than I am thinking them.

Saturday, January 5, Tom left after lunch to ride snowmobile a little bit; he was going to visit a friend just outside of town. Around 3 pm he had still not returned and he had not sent any messages or called. This was VERY unusual for Tom and I was worried. Normally he’ll be out for 30-45 minutes and always, ALWAYS sends me random text messages.

I called friends that Tom sometimes rides with to ask if he had been by.

I hopped online to see if he used our check card anywhere; maybe he stopped for something to eat or there would be another clue.

At 4:30 pm there was a loud knock at the door. My stomach dropped. I knew it would not be good. I knew it. The county sheriff told me that Tom was in an accident and was to be airlifted to HCMC.

Fear, panic, adrenaline…

Nina and Tom Hedin with Jack and June.

Nina and Tom Hedin with Jack and June.

This, dear readers, breaks my heart. Even though I’ve never met Nina or her family, I remained connected to Nina after writing that initial magazine feature (which you can read by clicking here). I continued reading her The Adventures of Artsy Nina blog and we exchanged occasional emails. She is a vivacious, creative (she also runs two Etsy shops, Camp Honeybelle and Nina Baran Upcycled Vintage Jewelry)  and caring individual with a delightful sense of humor.

So when the call went out to Nina’s circle of blogging friends to share the Hedins’ story, I didn’t even have to consider. Helping someone in need, especially a friend, is the right thing to do. And the family needs assistance, both financially and in prayer.

Blogging about an evening out with her husband in early December, Nina wrote:  "We held hands and ran the short block home through the first snow fall of the season, laughing and enjoying the end of a good night."

Blogging about an evening out with her husband in early December, Nina wrote: “We held hands and ran the short block home through the first snow fall of the season, laughing and enjoying the end of a good night.”

Here again, in Nina’s words, are the injuries her beloved Tom suffered:

Injuries listed from top to bottom; brain hemorrhage and complications, fractured orbital (eye) socket, facial lacerations, fractured T6 vertebrae, broken and dislocated right wrist, broken left elbow and fractured upper arm, left knee cap broken with severed tendon and puncture wound, right knee ligament injury.

He faces a long, hard road to recovery. As of yet we are unsure of the extent of damage to the brain, and the recovery time/therapy needed for his limbs and back will take months.

A recent photo of Tom with Jack and June.

A recent photo of Tom with Jack and June.

You can only imagine the insurmountable medical bills this couple in their early 30s, with two children, Jack, 3, and seven-month-old June, will face. An online “Help for Tom Hedin” account has been set up at GiveForward to assist the family with mounting medical and day-to-day expenses. The goal is to raise $100,000 by March 9.

Please consider offering your financial support by clicking here. Together we can make a difference and ease some of this family’s financial worries. Perhaps your friends, church group, family, co-workers, card club, coffee group, etc., can join efforts to collect monies for the Hedins. Every dollar, whether ten or 500, helps.

Because Tom has been with his current employer for only six months, he does not qualify for benefits under the Family and Medical Leave Act. He has been his family’s main source of financial support.

Please also pray for the Hedin family and their medical team. I am a firm believer in the power of prayer.

Tom with Jack and June at Halloween.

Tom with Jack and June at Halloween.

In closing, let’s listen to Nina one last time with this excerpt from her January 8 blog post, “Life Can Change in an Instant”:

It’s a cliche. You hear it all the time, think it some of the time, but you don’t really get it until something happens to you and yours.

Life as you know it can change in an instant.

Hug your kids, your husband, your mom, your dad, your neighbor, your friend. You never, ever know what that next moment might bring.

TO OFFER WORDS of encouragement and support and/or to read the latest updates on Tom’s condition, visit his CaringBridge website by clicking here.

NINA’S BLOGGER CIRCLE of friends is already posting her family’s story. Click here to read a post by Montana resident and former Minnesotan Bernie at One Mixed Bag.

Then click here to read a post by Beth Ann from Iowa at It’s Just Life. For every comment posted to her blog during January and February, Beth Ann is donating 50 cents to the Hedin family for medical expenses. This is part of Beth Ann’s ongoing “Comments for a Cause” campaign. So simply by commenting on any of Beth Ann’s posts during the next two months, you will be helping Tom, Nina, Jack and June.

© Text and photos copyright of Audrey Kletscher Helbling and Nina Hedin
Photos courtesy of Nina Hedin


25 Responses to ““Life can change in an instant”: A Minnesota family in need”

  1. […] Audrey at Minnesota Prairie Roots […]

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    Our styles are a little different but our hearts are in the exact same spot with this one, Audrey. I loved what you wrote and know that our efforts will make a difference. If only a couple of our readers go and give a small donation then it is all worth it, isn’t it??? It is what we do—-look out for one another and I know you guys would all be there for me also if I needed you. Thank you so much for doing all that you are doing to get the word out.

  3. Bernie Says:

    Oh, Audrey, its lovely! What a thoughtful well written post. I knew that when you and Beth Ann did your posts they would be lovely and make one tear up. Wonderful!!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thank you, Bernie. I feel the same about yours. We each have our own style, but with the same goal, to help Nina, Tom, Jack and June.

  4. […] from Minnesota Prairie Roots  wrote a moving piece on their […]

  5. You know that old saying, “There but for the grace of God go I”? Exactly.

  6. treadlemusic Says:

    And so, all things have a new perspective…..one that must always be in place these days….Life is fragile, a vapor, live each moment as though there may be none to follow but with the bright hope in a Love that/Who will carry us through those dark valleys. Will add Tom, Nina and children to our prayers. Hugs……..

  7. Life is so precious and can change in an instant. Such a young man with a young family living the everyday life. I am sending good thoughts and prayers to this family. There is hope and strength in numbers:) Thanks for sharing – have a great day!

  8. Jackie Says:

    Oh goodness, this poor family, but on a good note (being a trauma nurse and all) sounds like Tom is recovering quite nicely. Still a ways to go, but in the right direction. Prayers are going out to this family, thanks for making their needs known.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      This is good to hear coming from you, Jackie. I’ve been more than a little worried about Tom’s condition and occasional setbacks. But then I know nothing really about trauma, treatment and recovery in situations like this. Reading a positive observation like yours reassures me. Thank you.

  9. Michele Says:

    Audrey you are so wonderful to all of us fellow bloggers!! You have such a big heart and I wish we had a million more of you out there watching over all of us! Very well written and I am so thrilled Nina will get a little of the help she so needs and deserves.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thank you, Michele.

      Readers, Michele also posted about Tom and Nina Hedin at her Living on Less blog. I’d encourage you to check it out at this link:


      Also, a huge thank you to columnist Bob Collins at Minnesota Public Radio who this morning featured Tom and Nina as #4 in the 5×8 section of his News Cut column. I am so appreciative. Here’s the link to Bob’s 5×8 post for today (scroll to find the Hedins’ story):


      Also, be sure to comment on Beth Ann’s blog at It’s Just Life. For every comment made during January and February, Beth Ann is donating 50 cents to the Hedin family to help cover medical expenses. This costs you nothing except your time. Please read and comment on Beth Ann’s blog daily and you are helping the Hedins. This is part of Beth Ann’s ongoing “Comments for a Cause” effort on her blog. Here’s the link to It’s Just Life:


      Thank you to all who are supporting this family in prayer, with words of encouragement and through your monetary and other gifts. Nina received her first medical bill on Thursday, $20,000 for Tom’s 50-mile air-link helicopter ride to Hennepin County Medical Center. The financial need is great for the Hedins to cover their mounting medical expenses.

  10. It seems as if so often these days there is news of staggeringly bad things happening to regular people. Yes, you never know what will happen when you wake up each day. A 39 year old friend of our up and had a heart attack while playing basketball three days before Christmas. Four kids – two too young to remember him. breaks your heart. Thanks for sending me the e-mail about this, too. So thankful for my life –

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.