Sister’s Restaurant holding fundraiser for miracle baby, mom calls for help

March 13, 2020
By Olivia Cameron

Sister’s Italian American Restaurant is one of the only places on the island to sit down for quality pizza and pasta, and that family feeling. Yet, a cherished employee is unsure of her return to work and needs the community’s help.
Ashlea Christensen, who has been serving at Sister’s for 11 years, can only see her newborn baby girl in a Sarasota hospital. Christensen gave birth to baby Bren 16 weeks early, which caused a brain bleed in the infant. Weighing two pounds, she is in constant incubation care, giving Christensen no choice but to drive out to Sarasota daily. 
Named after Christensen’s late mother, Brenda, baby Bren is now just around 20 days old. It is unknown when the newborn is to finally see her own home. The family can only hope that her recovery is quick and warrants a good health stance. 
“They are saying she is most likely to have a disability from the brain bleed,” said Bren’s mother. “I have to take it day by day.”
Without work, she has had a difficult time ensuring bills are paid. Now with the Corona virus fear, there is a hospital visitor limit. 
Christensen’s grandmother, Zeta Proskocil, is visiting from Chicago to provide as much encouragement as she can. “Depending on if there’s any neurological problems, she could be sent from Sarasota to St. Pete,” said Proskocil. “We would have no choice.”
Sister’s co-owner Paula Marum has decided to hold a fundraiser alongside Christensen to help her through this difficult time and support the roof over baby Bren’s head.
“A lot of people are coming in to ask how they can help,” said Marum. With the support of locals and restaurant regulars, Sister’s has high hopes for their upcoming event.
As a group that gives back, including providing quilts and supplies to those suffering from natural disasters, the ladies are appreciative of the community concern. “I feel like I have a family out here,” said Christensen.
The fundraiser will take place on Thursday, March 19th, as an all-day event. From 11am to 9pm, the event will be held at 480 E Railroad Avenue. Come out to show your support of a local mother who has given to Boca Grande for years to come. Donations and support would be met with great appreciation.    
A Go Fund Me page is also open to public donations online at