Andrea Jensen with her daughters Kora and Adalyn
Forest Lake resident Andrea Jensen is on a mission to help classmate Kari Milberg. Milberg, of Milltown, Wisc., was involved in a tragic car accident December 12, 2013. In that accident Kari Milberg’s 11-year-old daughter and her two 5-year-old nieces – the daughters of each of her two sisters – died. Her two-year-old son was injured, but survived.
Milberg had taken the children to The Giggle Factory in Hudson, Wisc. earlier that day. It was after leaving The Giggle Factory heading toward Prescott, Wisc., just a couple blocks from her sister’s home, that Kari Milberg hit black ice. Her SUV spun in circles and toppled end over end, finally colliding with a freight truck. Kari Milberg was ejected from the vehicle. Her 11-year-old daughter and one of her 5-year-old nieces were pronounced dead at the scene. Two days later, at the hospital, her other 5-year-old niece died. Her 2-year-old son was treated and released. He is doing great.
While Kari Milberg laid with a bleeding and swelling brain, several broken bones including a broken lower back, and many cuts and bruises, fighting for her life, she had no idea her one and only daughter had died. She had no idea the one and only daughter of each of her two sisters died.
“It’s tragic and unimaginable,” said Andrea Jensen, the mother of two young girls with another baby on the way. “I cannot even fathom what this family is going through. And for the Grandma who had four grandchildren and now has one – how, how, how can something like this happen?”
This tragedy struck one week before Christmas. Christmas presents were already bought and under the tree; visits to Santa and Santa lists already done; family Christmas plans already in place. Kari Milberg’s world, and the world of her sisters and parents, came crashing down.
It’s now been five months. Funerals have come and gone. Kari Milberg wasn’t able to attend her own daughter’s funeral.
Andrea Jensen asked, “Can you imagine not being able to attend your own child’s funeral? The very child you created and brought into this world and loved more than life itself? Again, it’s unimaginable.”
The family is, as they always have, leaning on each other. Friends, community members and strangers are extending gestures of love, prayer and support for a family trying to piece life back together.
Kari Milberg returned home from the hospital February 14, 2014. Physically she is doing okay. Emotionally, she is struggling. In terms of grieving she is five weeks behind the other members of the family; it was necessary to wait until Kari was stable to tell her her daughter and nieces were gone.
Pictured: Clara (Kati’s one and only daughter), Lydia (Kari’s one and only daughter), Easton (Kari’s one and only son) and Laynie (Kassi’s one and only daughter).
Andrea Jensen who has taken to sharing the story with others and helping to plan the upcoming fundraising event said, “This story has shaken me to the core. Maybe because it’s a family I’ve grown up with. Or maybe because the small town community I grew up in is so close. Or perhaps it’s because I have children of my own. I’m thinking it’s all of the above. Not a day goes by where I don’t think of this family. When such a tragic story like this unfolds, I want to do something to help.”
Jensen has volunteered a few times to make and deliver food for the families grieving so they can focus their energy elsewhere. But she felt like she wanted and needed to do more.
“As an avid runner myself, I am familiar with racing. I haven’t actually been on the other end and organized a race, but something inside told me to go for it,” Jensen explained. She continued, “A group of us started talking and I was asked to take the lead on this event and they would help along the way. I accepted the challenge and will do the best I can in order to have a successful event for this family. I’m asking everyone I can to help.”
Suffering a severe brain injury and extreme physical trauma, Kari Milberg has a long road ahead. Andrea Jensen joins her fellow Unity High School classmates in putting together a fundraiser: Race for Carrots. “Carrots” has been Kari Milberg’s nickname since grade school. Kari’s classmates believe her recovery is truly a miracle, and they invite you to follow the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/raceforcarrots and consider a road trip June 14, 2014 to Balsam Lake, Wisc. for a day of life celebration and community support. The event begins at 9 a.m. and includes a 5K and a 1 mile walk along with family fun. To register, become a sponsor or volunteer, and/or get more details visit: http://riversrally.org/race-for-carrots/
Andrea Jensen is a mom on a mission hoping to make a difference in the life of an injured, grieving mother, classmate and friend. She is currently looking for sponsors, volunteers, donations and participants. In addition to being a fundraiser, the event has a primary focus of being family oriented and a lot of fun. With Mother’s Day around the corner a lot of hearts are going out to this family.
RACE FOR CARROTS
Date: Saturday, June 14, 2014
Place: Unity School
Registration: 8:00 AM
Race Start: 9:00 AM
Little Carrots Kid’s Race following adult race.
5K Run/1 Mile Walk with Shirt – $20
Little Carrots Race (10 and under) – Free
T-shirts are available to purchase for pick-up at the event.
Pre-registration available until May 31st.
Route will be available soon, please check back for updates.
Event sponsored through River’s Rally 501(c)(3) organization.
For the most current details visit the Race for Carrots Facebook page.
The Milberg sisters from left to right: Kati Pavek, Kari Milberg and Kassi Milberg