Mahtomedi couple raises money to build playground in their late son's name

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A Mahtomedi couple is raising money to build a park in their son’s name, after he died at only seven weeks old.

Looking through photos of her son’s stay in the NICU isn’t how Becky Markovitz imagined spending her first Mother’s Day.

“It was always so scary because you don’t know if it’s going to be a good day, a bad, or is it going to be his last day,” she recalled.

When she was six months pregnant, Markovitz was admitted to the hospital for high blood pressure and diagnosed with pre-eclampsia. A few days later, she and her husband Craig welcomed their son Aaron. He was 11 weeks early and weighed just over two pounds.

“You’re sitting there, holding your child and you’re staring at a computer that tells you his heartrate and oxygen levels,” said Craig Markovitz, Aaron’s father. “When they go up your ecstatic and when they go down, your heart goes with it.”

Like most babies who are premature, Aaron had to be hooked up to a lung machine until his lungs developed enough to breath on their own.

“This breathing machine, while it saved his life, it also damaged his lungs,” said Becky. “That led to scar tissue and that led to less and less ability to absorb oxygen and ultimately led to his death.”

They only got seven weeks with their baby, but they’re hoping his memory will live forever in the form of a playground in his name.

“I feel like a playground is a perfect place to reflect who he was,” said Becky. “He was very innocent, very full of life and we absolutely want to remember him in that way.”

It will be called Aaron’s Playground, located just around the corner from their Mahtomedi home in Southwest Park.

“It’s in bad need of a playground,” said Craig. “It’s got a couple beautiful baseball diamonds, beautiful soccer fields and one tiny play structure.”

In four short months, the couple has raised nearly half of their $100,000 goal and gained the city’s support for the project.

The couple did a lot of research and says $100,000 should pay for a nice playground for kids of all ages.

“Yes, this is a playground for our son Aaron, but it’s also a playground that represents all children who have passed away too soon,” Becky said.

To make a donation to Aaron’s playground visit