Frazer and Dana Gieselmann are the parents of three beautiful daughters, Elle, Milla and Ann Carlyle. Sadly, they also know the unspeakable sadness of losing not one, but two of their children. In November 2016, Milla died from Batten disease, an inherited neurodegenerative disorder for which there is no cure. Milla's House was founded in 2017 in memory of their little girl.
The Gieselmanns youngest daughter, Elle, also tested positive for Batten disease at the age of 5, losing her battle with the disease in 2019. Their oldest daughter, Ann Carlyle, tested negative and is healthy. The Gieselmanns have relied heavily on the Grief Center over the years. Frazer says the Center continues to be essential to their family's journey through a grief that he describes as “complicated and messy.” He emphasized that the Center had not only been essential to his family, but to his extended family and close friends as well.
“The Memphis community has benefitted greatly from the Center for Good Grief, and it was our great pleasure to have the opportunity to support the opening of the Midtown location, while also honoring our daughter Milla,” says Dana. “Her short life touched so many. Our hope is that Milla's House will provide the help that some in our community need to deal with the reality of living in a broken world.”
In 2017, the first annual Miles 4 Milla’s House was held. It is a 40-mile bike ride as well as a family-fun ride and post-ride party that honors and celebrates not only Milla’s and Elle’s memory, but the amazing work done by the Center for Good Grief and the wonderful Gieselmann family. Every year, Miles 4 Milla raises thousands of dollars that go directly to the Baptist Center for Good Grief – Milla’s House. For more information on this annual event and the Gieselmann family’s story, please visit miles4milla.org or thegieselmann5.blogspot.com.