Family Creates Endowment to Honor Bronson Trauma Team that Saved Daughter’s Life

Published on May 20, 2021

Family Creates Endowment to Honor Bronson Trauma Team that Saved Daughter’s Life

Photo of Rachel ChristoffersenIn honor of the Bronson trauma and emergency team that saved their 9-year old daughter’s life more than 35 years ago, Chris and Barbara Christoffersen have created an endowment to support services that will help in caring for patients during a medical trauma for years to come.

It was in 1985 when nine-year old Rachel Christoffersen was in a car crash in Kalamazoo which left her with life-threatening injuries. At the time, doctors told her parents Chris and Barbara Christoffersen that the chance of survival was one in 100.

Rachel had severe damage to her liver, spleen, and gall bladder. She also had a tear in a vein in her abdomen that carries blood to the heart, and a blood clot in her brain. During surgery, the trauma team at Bronson’s Level 1 Trauma Center used a device for the very first time that would remove, clean and return blood to Rachel’s body. After two weeks in pediatric intensive care, Rachel went on to eventually make a full recovery.

Photo of The Christoffersen'sTo recognize the life-saving work that made their daughter’s recovery possible, the Christoffersen’s made a $200,000 gift to Bronson Health Foundation to establish the Christoffersen Family Trauma and Emergency Services Endowment. The fund will support new technologies and equipment, education for physicians, nurses and other clinicians, facility development and innovative models of care in trauma and emergency services across the Bronson system.

“We were amazed to see the combined efforts of many people whose expertise, coordination and commitment saved Rachel’s life,” says Chris Christoffersen. “They were truly a miracle, and we will never forget them.” Barbara adds, “Our family is eternally grateful. We received expert and loving care when a member of our family desperately needed it. We will never forget that day and the caretakers will always be in our hearts.”

Photo of Rachel Christoffersen“We are grateful for this generous and thoughtful gift in support of the work that we do every day in our Level 1 Trauma Center and in our emergency departments across the region,” says Dr. Oreste Romeo, medical director, Bronson Methodist Hospital, Level 1 Trauma Center.  “This endowment will allow us to add to the lifesaving resources we use to care for patients during the most critical time of their lives.”

In creating the endowment, the Christoffersens have also called upon the community to join them in celebrating the Bronson trauma program and emergency medicine by making a gift to the endowment. 

"The Christoffersens have seeded the endowment with more than $200,000 and would like to see the community meet or exceed that giving level," says Terry Morrow, vice president of development, Bronson Healthcare. "In fact, as they have invited others, the call has been met and more than $100,000 has already been raised. This would not have happened without the Christoffersens and we appreciate the amazing generosity of other donors to support this effort."

To learn more about the endowment and/or to make a gift, and to read Rachel Olsen’s (formerly Christoffersen) story in her own words, visit