Even small gifts change lives

Pay It Forward
December 02, 2018

Landon’s Light

When Landon was diagnosed with a brain tumor at just 10 years old, Bell employees rallied together to donate Pay It Forward funds.

Landons Light
Landons Light
Landons Light
Landons Light

“He’s the one that’s carried us through some really tough times. He doesn’t allow you to be down in the dumps because he’s such a light and inspiration.” – Andrea Solberg, Pay It Forward recipient

Bell Employees

Keely Schlichting, VP/mortgage production manager

Fargo

Recipient

The Solberg family

The Need

What started as a few severe headaches in late 2017, soon progressed to more frequent headaches, vomiting and eventually double vision for 10-year-old Landon Solberg.After undergoing 10 days of multiple surgeries to remove excess fluid around his brain, Landon was referred to Mayo Clinic Hospital, where surgeons performed a biopsy.

“That biopsy turned our biggest fears into a quick reality,” says Andrea Solberg, Landon’s mom.“The biopsy revealed an anaplastic astrocytoma of the brain stem and the thalamus.”

The grade 3 brain tumor was deemed aggressive in nature, and doctors gave Landon a heartbreaking prognosis of 1 to 2 years to live. Refusing to give up, Landon received 6 weeks of radiation treatment and participated in a clinical trial in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“He’s been such an inspiration through this process with just his courage, strength and his faith. I’m so lucky to be his mom every single day,” Andrea says.

The Impact

After VP/mortgage production manager Keely Schlichting’s family moved in 2015, her son, Kye, Landon and two other neighborhood boys became inseparable. So when the story of Landon’s journey spread around Bell Bank, Keely and co-workers set up a Pay It Forward pool to benefit the family.

When Landon was released, the Solberg family was excited to see the new “Star Wars” movie coming out, having watched them all in the hospital. Their neighbor decided to surprise the family, hosting a “Star Wars” night for Landon at the theater. There the Solberg family found out 46 Bell Bank employees had pooled more than $32,000 to Pay It Forward.

“We truly still feel like we’re still part of the family, and never did we dream we’d be the recipients ofsuch a wonderful program,” remarks Andrea, who, along with her husband, used to work for Bell.

“The fact that we could take Bell’s Pay It Forward program and turn a little bit of bad into some good for a short window, it felt dang good,” Keely notes. “Landon is the boy you all want your son or daughter to be friends with because he’s like the angel on the shoulder.”

Perhaps what’s most ironic is that even through the hurdles, Landon has remained the light and inspiration for the Solberg family.

“I think it’s the positive attitude, just not letting life get you down and living life,” says his dad, Travis. “While he’s healthy, we’re enjoying it the best we can.”