Hibbing Native Dies During Childbirth, Family Gives Back To Northland Students

By KBJR News 1

May 31, 2012 Updated May 31, 2012 at 6:37 PM CDT

HIBBING, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)---A Hibbing family is turning the loss of their loved one into a way to benefit the community.

The family of Alison Hietala Lee suffered a major tragedy when Lee and her newborn daughter died last year after Lee gave birth.

Now, one family's loss might mean a better future for another.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and the family of Alison Hietala Lee has plenty of both.

"She kind of had the best quality of our families," Jill Hietala, Alison's Mother said. "She was very generous, even as a little kid."

"She was very fun to work with and she did things that they would kind of laugh at her, but she stood up for herself," Amanda Isaacs, Alison's Sister said.

Now, those pictures and words meld with memories, all this family has left of the two loved ones they lost one year ago.

"She had what they thought was an Amniotic embolism," Isaacs said. "Which a little bit of amniotic fluid gets into the mother's bloodstream and is poison to the mother."

Tragedy struck the family twice.

Lee died after giving birth to her daughter Eleanor.
Just four days later, Eleanor died too.

"You don't know sorrow until you've lost a child," Jill Hietla said. "It's been very, very tough."

Grief turned into giving when Lee's boss started a scholarship fund for UMD students in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program, the same program in which Lee studied.

"Her boss, Dave approached us about that, it was like, yes, that's perfect!" Isaacs said. "That's exactly what she would have liked and wanted."

Family members are planning a fundraiser and are hoping to see the scholarship grow so more students can succeed in a challenging field.

"It's expensive," Robert Hietala, Alison's Father said. "So it's fuding to help students get through this is needed."

"It feels good to be able to do something in her honor," Jill Hietala said.

The Alison Hietlala Lee Memorial Scholarship Fundraiser will be held Sunday, June 10, from 4-7 p.m. at the Minnesota Discovery Center in Chisholm.

Written and Posted to the Web:
Jennifer Austin