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Matt and Bridget Cullen donate $100,000 to Essentia for new NICU wing

Matt Cullen and Bridget Cullen at the Cully's Kids Silent Auction Thursday, July 11, 2013, in Moorhead. Forum file photo

FARGO — Essentia Health announced Monday, March 12, that Moorhead native and NHL star Matt Cullen and his wife, Bridget, made a large donation for the hospital's new neonatal intensive care unit wing.

The Cullen Children's Foundation donated $100,000 for the new NICU wing that will be named in the family's honor at the hospital located on 32nd Avenue in Fargo, according to a media statement from Essentia.

"We are very excited to be a part of Essentia's NICU expansion, and to continue our support of medical providers in Fargo-Moorhead to further these efforts," said Matt Cullen in the statement.

Bridget Cullen added, "It is wonderful to be able to put these funds to work expanding Essentia's NICU, and see the direct benefit to our community."

The new NICU will help meet the growing need for additional beds. The current unit has an open setting, with 10 beds separated by curtains. Research shows NICU patients who are in private rooms have more positive outcomes than the open-unit setting. The new space will add nine beds and bring the total number of rooms to 14 private rooms.

Essentia Health Regional Foundation Director Sue Omdalen stated in the release that, "My heart is overflowing with joy. This gift can help so many of the tiniest fighters in our region. This will truly make a difference for our patients and community."

The Essentia Health Regional Foundation plans to host a fundraising event to further benefit the expanded NICU. The Essentially Yours event will be held from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Thursday, April 5, at the Avalon Event Center, 2525 9th Ave. S. Fargo. It will feature a social with appetizers, games, silent auction and more. Tickets are $50 per person, with all proceeds benefiting the expanded NICU.

For more information or to donate, contact Omdalen at (701) 364-7784 or reserve tickets at