Lucky penny inspires hope for others

Sanford Fargo Medical Center display grows on its own. “I’m hoping the coins bring to them what it brought to us."

A lucky penny in the intensive care unit inspired a family and grew to inspire others with hope and luck.

FARGO, N.D. — When Juell Brabandt heard her son, Todd, had suffered two brain aneurysms in February 2018, she rushed from Minot, North Dakota, to Fargo, North Dakota, to be with him.

He had been visiting his daughter at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, North Dakota, when he suddenly didn’t know where he was. His wife and daughter brought him to the local hospital where he was transferred to Sanford Medical Center Fargo.

After surgery, as Todd recovered in the intensive care unit, his family stayed by his side. The close-knit family worried for their son, husband and father.

A lucky penny

One day while Juell was heading to Todd’s ICU room, she saw something shiny on the floor –- a heads-up penny. Todd had had an interest in coins since he was young, so Juell picked the coin up.

“I told the nurses I’d found our lucky penny, and I set it upright on its edge on the counter,” Juell said.

The lucky penny stayed on the ICU welcome desk counter by itself for a few days. After a few more days, Juell walked past and saw several more coins added, standing on their edges.

“Every morning when I walked past it, there were more coins. It brought tears to my eyes,” she said. “That one penny brought so much joy to us.”

Inspiration for others

The family drew inspiration from the message on the penny.

“In God we trust, and we do. When others saw it, it just meant an awful lot,” Juell said.

After 15 days in the ICU, Todd was able to go home. Yet, the coin display stayed and continued to grow.

Sanford ICU nurse assistant Kyle Klamar told WDAY-TV news, “As time went on more coins came and people just come and knock them down and pictures are made. It’s just kind of a therapeutic thing for patient families to do.”

The display has even grown to other floors in the hospital as they’ve created their own displays. When the display gets too full, the coins will be donated to Children’s Miracle Network at Sanford Children’s.

Passing on the luck

The Brabrandts hope others are inspired by the coins or at least have a moment to focus on something else besides the reality of having a family member or friend in the ICU.

“I’m hoping the coins bring to them what it brought to us,” Juell said.

Hope, inspiration and a little bit of luck.

Posted In Foundation, Grand Forks, Minot, Neurology, News