Kids & Family

Telling Kieran's Story To Make A Difference

A local hospital saved their son's life. Now, a Minnesota couple is giving back with a book about their experience.

Imagine taking a moment of deep despair and turning it into something that could save others. That's exactly what Erik Gabrielson and his wife Moira Petit are doing.

In December 2007 the couple, who are from St. Paul, MN, were pregnant with their son Kieran. Like any expectant couple, they went in for a routine ultrasound with great excitement. The results were devastating. The doctor diagnosed their unborn son with something called a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH), a life threatening problem that prevents the fetus' organs from developing properly. Doctors told the couple their baby had a 25 percent chance of survival, and even if he were to survive, his quality of life would be very poor. Erik and Moira were told their best option was to terminate the pregnancy.

Kieran, Moira and Erik, 2007.Erik Gabrielson

The couple rejected that idea and chose to fight for their son's life alongside the medical team at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. The story of the family's journey was so powerful Erik and Moira wrote a book about it, Our Fear Never Sleeps. It tells the story of their fight to not only keep Kieran alive, but to help him thrive, and encourages readers to apply the lessons the couple learned to any struggle in life. I caught up with them at the recent book launch:

Over a year ago, Erik was first asked to tell the family's story in a public setting. According to Erik, after a few successful trial runs, "It has taken on a life of its own." That, and Erik's writing about his son and their journey, lead to the book.

From 25% chance of survival to active 11-year old boy.Erik Gabrielson/Twitter

Now 11-years old, Kieran is thriving. In his dad's words, "He's totally engaged in life. He's skiing, skateboarding, mountain biking, dancing, just going after life.So, it's been an amazing gift."

Skiing and skateboarding are Kieran's favorites.Erik Gabrielson/Twitter

Gift is a word that that Erik and Moira live by. It's why the couple is donating all author profits from book orders through February 29, 2020 to the Pediatric Pain, Palliative Integrative Medicine Program at Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, the program responsible for saving Kieran's life.

Moira and Kieran at the book launch party. They raised over $8000.

How can you start something good?

If you're interested in supporting this cause, you can donate directly to Children's Minnesota Foundation.You can also order Erik and Moira's book through this link.

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