Guest Blogger: Kristina M. Gigstad (’06)
Senior Associate, Sackett Law Firm, Milford, Iowa
Treasurer and Board Member, Lakes Regional Healthcare Foundation Board
The St. Thomas Law mission to integrate faith and reason was planted like a seed at the root of everything else I learned in law school, shaping who I am and what I do. It affects how I see things and what I think. It was because of this mission that I saw an adversity as a calling to do more for others.
Our 2 year old daughter was born with a rare medical condition. It has been one of the most overwhelming things I have ever been through. My battle began with just trying to understand her condition and consulting with countless doctors. When we finally found a doctor, we were told insurance would not cover the treatment our daughter needed even though it was medically necessary. I had to use the entire breadth of my legal training, fighting insurance for months, before we were able to get the treatment covered. When we eventually got insurance approval I knew it was only because God had given me the tools to reach that outcome.
Facing the prospect of not being able to help our daughter seemed impossible for me to imagine. Yet I could recall many law school teachings about this very type of injustice and our duty as UST lawyers to correct them. As difficult as our situation felt, I felt lucky because I had the education to read a hundred page insurance policy and to understand it. I couldn’t help but think of all of the other mothers in my situation that did not have those tools or the money to hire an attorney.
When I was asked to join the Lakes Regional Healthcare Foundation Board I knew this was my opportunity to help give to others as God had given to me. In the midst of healthcare reform, our goal is to provide continued access to quality healthcare. Though federal funding has been drastically reduced, we refuse to sacrifice our standards. Instead, we are pursuing private funding and a number of measures to ensure that the health of our community is put first. It feels wonderful to be able to try to make a difference in this way.
I remember when I applied to St. Thomas I wrote in my admissions essay that I felt called to go there. Today I can see why I was called to be there: so that I would grow in my faith; so that I would see my duties to God and His people; and so that I would have the tools for the many other callings God has planned for me.