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Modern woodmen helps raise almost $29,000 for family’s medical expenses

More than $29,000 was raised to help the Torresons with medical expenses. A matching grant from Modern Woodmen doubled the $14,822.78 raised through private donations for a total of $29,645.58. Ken Volkerding, a financial representative of Modern Woodmen presented Megan Torreson a check on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Photo by Gregory Dullum

Megan Torreson may be a pastor’s wife, but that doesn’t mean her life has been easy or that her faith in God and his miracles has not been tested.

Her husband, Ted, is pastor at The Exchange, a small church in Jackson near Center Junction (Highway 61 and I-55, Exit 99). Ted began having health problems this past year, and Megan found herself praying for him. “I was praying for my husband. No one knew what was wrong,” she said.

The problem was finally identified as a brain tumor. Ted had it partially removed earlier this year, and spent more than a week in a hospital intensive care unit.

As if that was not a big enough problem, Megan gave birth to their fifth child, Gideynn.

The baby girl was born with a rare birth defect — hypoplastic left heart syndrome — abbreviated as HLHS. The left side of her heart didn’t develop correctly, affecting the flow of blood through her heart.

Gideynn needed surgery, which ran up medical bills totaling more than $1 million. Gideynn remained in the hospital for six weeks, and Megan stayed with her daughter the whole time. Ted stayed for the first two weeks, but then he returned home to care for their other children, who were all under 10 years of age.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions at the hospital, the other children were not allowed to meet their sister until she came home from the hospital.

Although the children had no physical contact with their mom, they visited every day online using FaceTime.

During the last four weeks that Gideynn was in the hospital, Ted often went to St. Louis to visit his wife and daughter during the day (while the other children were in school), but made it home in time to care for them after school.

Megan described that time as living “in chaos.”

Medical expenses have piled up for the Torreson family, who did not have traditional health insurance. They did have a medical expense sharing program available to pastors, but it was not going to cover all their medical expenses.

People have stepped up to help the Torresons. Someone had suggested they sign up Gideynn for Medicaid, which proved to be a financial blessing, as it covered a large portion of her first surgery.

The Friday after Thanksgiving, Ken Volkerding, a financial representative with Modern Woodmen, presented a check to Megan to help out the family during this period. Modern Woodmen of Ameri-ca matched $14,822.78 that had been raised to help the Torresons, making the final donation amount $29,645.58.

Various chapters of Modern Woodmen each contributed $2,500, explained Vol-kerding.

An additional $8,177.32 was donated to the Torresons through freewill donations. Pastor Rod Bekendorf of Hanover Lutheran Church headed up the fundraising.

Megan said she is not worried about the medical expenses. She has been assured by what has already happened that “God will provide,” she proclaimed. “I now have more faith in his miracles.”

Gideynn, who is 3-1/2 months old, is on “a lot medications,” Megan said. “She’s high maintenance.” And she is facing additional surgeries. Her next one will be after the first of the year.

So far, she seems to be doing well. “When she’s awake, she’s very active,” Megan said.

Meanwhile, Ted will continue to need monitoring of his brain tumor. All of this will cost more money.

Donations to help the Torresons may be sent to St. Paul Lutheran Church, 223 W. Adams St., Jackson, MO 63755. The church’s phone number is 573-243-2236.

Modern Woodmen of America is a financial life insurance society headquartered in Rock Island, lL. Modern Woodmen provides life insurance, annuity, and security products to 744,000 policy holders nationwide.

Gregory Dullum has worked for The Cash-Book Journal for more than 25 years. Prior to becoming the editor in May 2017, he was production manager, circulation manager and reporter. Before moving to Cape Girardeau in 1988, he was editor of the Saint Louis Park Sailor, a weekly community newspaper in suburban Minneapolis, MN. A native of Minnesota, he returned there after graduating with distinction in 1978 from Ambassador College in Pasadena, CA, with a degree in mass communications. His wife, Marie, whom he met in college, is a native of Zalma, a small town in southeast Missouri. They have two grown daughters and five grandchildren. Gregory may be reached at

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