Kelsey Barchenger shares how her family is turning their grief into action.



Mac was born on a sunny Sunday morning at 10:10 am in October 2019. He had been with his mom, Heather, for 40 weeks and 4 days. He was born via emergency C-section due to his heart rate being low. Unfortunately, Mac died seconds after delivery.

Today, October 20, would have been Mac’s first birthday. For 365 days, Heather and her family have mourned the loss of her baby boy. Heather did not really know where to turn with her grief and how to get help. To honor Mac today, Heather and her family are turning their grief into something positive.

The Mac Initiative is a partnership with the nonprofit Sioux Trails Mental Health Center. The Mac Initiative’s mission is to provide mental health support to grieving parents of babies who are stillborn or loss to neonatal death. The partnership is set out to eliminate barriers for parents needing this kind of help. The first barrier for these parents is knowing where to go for help, for this organizers have partnered with Sioux Trails. Another barrier is cost of services, so organizers will raise funds to help other parents get the help they need at no cost to them.

Helping others is not new for Mac. Through LifeSource, Mac was able to donate cartilage and all four of his healthy little heart valves. He also donated tissue and organs to Mayo Clinic for research. So the Mac Initiative is continuing Mac’s legacy of helping others.

“I am so proud of Mac and what he was able to donate and provide for other families. I truly believe the Mac Initiative will not only continue Mac’s selfless legacy but will help those parents who are trying to heal, like me, after losing a precious baby, ” said Heather, Mac’s mother.

About Sioux Trails Mental Health Center

Sioux Trails Mental Health Center began providing therapy services in 1966. The nonprofit offers an array of behavioral health programs in Minnesota, providing quality services delivered by a skilled staff of trained behavioral health professionals. Sioux Trails provides services in four counties and five communities: New Ulm, St. Peter, Gaylord, North Mankato and St. James. Mac Initiative recipients do not need to reside in these communities in order to receive service.