“It doesn’t have to be a sad thing. It’s OK to have the conversation,” said Becky Bjerklie.
After the loss of her 16-year-old son, Brandon, Becky Bjerklie realized just how important that conversation really was.
“By you going on and saying, ‘Yes, I’m going to be a donor.’ You’re taking that stress and that kind of anxiety away from them and letting them heal in a time that’s going to be one of the hardest times of their lives,” she said.
Bjerklie lost her son in the summer of 2019 due to asthma complications. She tells us it was only weeks before his passing that they had talked about donation.
“He would love the fact that he has helped save so many lives. Not only through donating his organs and his tissue, but just the awareness that has been spread about his story,” said Bjerklie.
The family has recently taken on a special project, planting painted rocks all over the community. The goal is to get people talking about donation and their wishes after death.
“I just felt like there was a huge disconnect from it. So, that was where I felt like I needed to step up, and just really put more stuff out there into the public. Big stuff that people are going to see,” said Bjerklie.
Family members are pitching in to help with Bjerklie’s many different projects, and say it’s been a great thing.
“It’s nice having a way for us to just cope, and continue to do something as a family. I think we were all just worried that we were just going to be really sad. Distance ourselves and not hang out as much. Family-oriented things weren’t going to happen as often, but I think it brought us closer together,” said Brooklyn Seime, Bjerklie’s daughter.
“We all try to help, whether it’s uncles and aunts, grandkids. We all chip together and try to do our part. We went through a lot of heartaches with it. So, yeah, it’s worth it,” said Cal Pedersen, Bjerklie’s dad.
Bjerklie tells us her son is what motivated her at first, but the family has come to learn that that’s just one side of the story.
“I actually have a picture of the little who he donated his liver to. Her picture hangs on my fridge because we got a letter from her. We got a letter from the gentleman who received his heart. We’ve gotten a letter from him as well. And those are just things we cherish…I just hope we’re making him proud, that’s all,” said Bjerklie.
The Bjerklie family is currently painting more rocks to place throughout the area and encourages everyone to spread the message. They tell us their next big project is to create a float for Mandan’s 4th of July parade.
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