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Foundation News

Wanted: Courageous Breast Cancer Survivors!

The Avera McKennan Foundation is seeking survivors to be one of the 2015/2016 Avera Think Pink Ladies. This united group of survivors has a mission to share their personal story to inspire and raise awareness. By coming forward with their experiences, women are reminded to schedule regular breast exams while offering strength, support and encouragement for the community. They also have the opportunity to volunteer for various events including the Avera Race Against Breast Cancer.

To be considered, all forms must be submitted by August 28. Please email Jean Snyders, Avera Think Pink Lady, at for more information. Click here to access online nomination form >>

Avera Race Celebrates Heroes!

Cancer may have found its kryptonite with the number of heroes who rallied to celebrate the 27th Annual Avera Race Against Breast Cancer on Saturday, May 9.

Thank you to all the super heroes who put on their capes to raise $400,000 in support of local cancer survivors and their families at the Avera Cancer Institute. Over 5,500 participants hit the streets, along with countless volunteers, sponsors and supporters to go up against the ultimate enemy; cancer.

Ever dollar raised benefits the local community. To learn more about what your gift supports, view runner times and photo gallery and watch a highlight video, visit

How Sweet It Was: Thank You for Supporting the Big Grape!

The Big Grape 2014

Thanks to you, The Big Grape: Sweet Sixteen was a milestone event for all to remember! This year, the unique wine, beer and food tasting event raised over $135,000 to benefit patients and families at Avera Children's Hospital. Guests enjoyed a wide array of gourmet food, wine, craft beer and of course, cake!

Thank you to our loyal sponsors, volunteers, attendees and partners for attending our special celebration that benefits children in our community. To learn more about what your gift supports and view highlight video, visit

HeARTS in Healing:Touting Artistic Talents Creates Success

Thank you to everyone for supporting the 2015 HeARTS in Healing fundraiser benefiting patients and families at Avera Behavioral Health Center.

The event, held on Saturday, February 7, raised approximately $55,000. Your gifts make a difference in the lives of patients and families receiving services at the Avera Behavioral Health Center.

Gifts to Holiday of Caring Fills Both Trees and Hearts!

Thank you to all the departments, individual employees and loyal friends of Avera McKennan who made this year’s Holiday of Caring a magical success for many families in need. Because of friends like you, the Avera McKennan Foundation had nearly 40 families sponsored by various individuals and hospital departments.

In addition, holiday meals were supplied and countless gifts were found under our trees to support the needs of the Walsh Family Village and put smiles on the faces of children in the pediatrics department.

Remember, it’s never too late to show your support, click here to make your year-end online donation or call 605-322-8900.

Avera McKennan Foundation Receives Gift from Sammons Financial Group

Sammons Financial Group is donating $9,800 to both the Avera Family Wellness Program and Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center will be able to help more patients and families thanks to a nearly $20,000 gift.

Cancer services and programs at the Avera Cancer Institute. The Avera Family Wellness Program focuses on early intervention with children enrolled in early childhood programs by providing violin instruction and family health coaching.

Sammons Financial Group is also funding various cancer programs and services such as integrative medicine, navigation services, survivorship programs, advanced technology and research. The group also sponsors the Avera Race Against Breast Cancer which also supports cancer programs and services.

Thank you to the Sammons Financial Group for their generous contribution this holiday season!

All Women Count! Program Receives Recognition

Thanks to your support of the Avera Race Against Breast Cancer, the All Women Count! Program at Avera recently received the Women’s Cancer Network Partnership Award. On November 7, the foundation was honored to receive this award from the South Dakota Women’s Cancer Network.

The All Women Count! Program, which is funded through proceeds from the Avera Race, assures that all women in South Dakota have access to quality education and screening services for the early detection of breast and cervical cancer as well as additional survivorship services. This award recognizes the invaluable contributions from all of you to help Avera in the fight against cancer.

Lincoln High School Gives Back

Thank you to the Lincoln High School Student Council for giving back to the community! In October, they raised over $1,000 by auctioning off football jerseys in h onor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Proceeds benefit local patients and families at the Avera Cancer Institute.

Feisty Fighters Group Donates $10,000 to Avera Cancer Institute

The Sioux Falls-based cancer-fighting organization known as Feisty Fighters donated $45,000 to cancer research at a press event on Oct. 16.

Kris Gaster, Assistant Vice President of Outpatient Cancer Clinics with the Avera Cancer Institute, was on hand to accept a $10,000 donation from the organization, which is made up of men and women from the area who host events, including a 60-mile walk, to raise money and support efforts towards a cure.

Feisty Fighters also donated funds to the Susan G. Komen South Dakota and the Edith Sanford Cancer Breast Cancer foundation at the event. Gaster said the funding will go towards research, especially genetic work that can help patients who may benefit from drugs not yet approved for use by the FDA.

Learn more about Feisty Fighter efforts in South Dakota.

Cut for a Cause!

Thank you to everyone who came out to the Empire Mall on Saturday, October 4 to celebrate breast cancer awareness with a new "do." The Salon and Younkers hosted this annual event which raised nearly $900. Proceeds from this cutting-edge money maker benefit local cancer survivors and their families. Thank you again!

Local Fraternity Shows They Care with Bears!

Members of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity from the University of South Dakota delivered a load of teddy bears to the Avera Children’s Hospital, as part of their 19th Annual Teddy Bear Run. Fraternity members actually ran the bears in shifts 60 miles up Interstate 29.

This year’s Teddy Bear Run raised over $5,600 to help Avera carry out the vision of caring for the body, mind and spirit of a child with every penny staying local to help children and families get the treatment and support needed.

Thank YOU to everyone who contributed to the barrage of bears; because of you, the children at Avera Children’s Hospital had a fun distraction during their day.

Ride Pink Poker Run Clutches Breast Cancer

It was a day of pink power at the Ride Pink Poker Run on Aug. 4! The adrenaline-filled event raised $3,000 to benefit breast health services at the Avera Cancer Institute. Thank you to our event sponsors, attendees and volunteers for making a difference in the lives of local cancer patients and their families.


Thank you to our grateful golfers for taking a swing at curing cancer on Sept. 9 for the Compassion in Action Golf Tournament. Because of supporters like you, over $16,100 was raised to help patients and families at the Avera Cancer Institute!