Joseph Nissen was born on March 13, 2014 with a rare heart defect.

Joseph Nissen was born on March 13, 2014 with a rare heart defect. He was life-flighted to St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, Minn. just hours after he was born. Once there, he underwent surgery to insert a balloon into his heart to open up his valves and get him stable enough for open heart surgery. After being hospitalized in Rochester for two weeks Joseph is back home in Crookston but is still not completely in the clear. He has numerous doctors appointments, home nurses, weight checks, tests, etc.

A benefit on Saturday, May 17 at the Crookston VFW will help Joseph and his family with their expenses relating to travel, childcare for their other three children and other daily expenses that have piled up while they've been away. The Nissen Family Benefit will be from 7 to 10 p.m. and will feature a meal of pulled pork on a bun with chips, and a silent auction. Donations for the silent auction are being sought; contact Lisa Biggers at 280-1826 or if you have something to donate.

Follow Joseph's story at and get updates on Facebook.

Meanwhile, Joseph's older sister, Vanessa, plays basketball in the Crookston Youth Basketball Association and, last week, during a "Shoot Hoops and Make Baskets" event at Crookston High School, Vanessa and her CYBA teammates used donated items to create 18 baskets that will be used for the silent auction on Saturday.