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Foundation News

Avera Race Gears Up!
The Avera Race Against Breast Cancer is already doing some heavy lifting for this year's 29th annual event. View the race maps to get started training and don't forget to sign up today to be sure to receive a 2017 Avera Race bag and shirt!

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Participant T-shirt measurements >>

Youth T-shirt measurements >>

Offline Registration >>

10K Route >>

Crushin' It a Smashing Success

Thank you for supporting the 2017 Big Grape on Friday, April 7! The fun-filled evening was a success thanks to generous sponsors, volunteers and attendees. Over $125,000 was raised to benefit children and families in the local community. View stewardship video>>

The Big Grape premier wine, food and craft beer tasting event celebrates 18 years of benefiting children and families in our community. Through your generous support, Avera Children’s Hospital can fulfill the promise to save lives and care for children, bringing hope and healing to those who need it most.

Visit to make an online gift and learn more about how your gifts benefit the community.

Caring and Creativity: Behavioral Health Fundraiser Raises Over $85,000!

Thank you to everyone for supporting the 2017 HeARTS in Healing fundraiser benefiting Avera Behavioral Health Center. Over $85,000 was raised to serve patient and families in our community.

Guests filled the Light Court on Saturday, February 4 to enjoy an evening of fine food, inspirational stories and an array of locally commissioned art and other live and silent auction items.

Thank you to the artists, attendees, volunteers and sponsors for making gifts to support the health and well-being of our local community.

The “Spirit of Children” Halloween Fundraiser Scares Up Over $13,000!

Thank you to everyone for supporting the health of children and their families in our community through your participation in the “Spirit of Children” Halloween fundraiser. The “Spirit of Children” is a national program that brings fun and funding to hospitals at Halloween and all year long by supporting the Child Life Program. Thank you again for dressing up for a donation!

Gifts to Avera McKennan’s Holiday of Caring Fills both Trees and Hearts!

Thank you to all the departments, individual employees businesses 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 foundation had 42 families and 182 individuals sponsored by departments and individuals.

In addition, holiday meals were supplied and countless gifts were left under Giving Trees to support the needs of the Walsh Family Village, Avera Cancer Institute Sioux Falls, Avera Children’s Hospital and Avera Behavioral Health Center.

The foundation is once again excited to have partnered with the University of Sioux Falls with a Giving Tree. This year, the Walsh Family Village was selected to receive various items to help fulfill the needs of patients and families who stay at the village.

Special thank you to the University of Sioux Falls and to all who purchased items for the Giving Trees, sponsored families and to local businesses, such as HoneyBaked Ham, for off-setting the costs for the holiday meals. To demonstrate your generosity in action, here’s a few words from a sponsored family. “I wish to let you all know just how blessed we feel. Your generosity is amazing. For years we donated to others, but things have changed. Now we are on the receiving side and are so grateful.”

~ Holiday of Caring Sponsor Family

Think Pink, Think Green

The month of October may have been pink, but the results have the foundation seeing green!

Thanks to the generosity of local businesses, organizations, community partners and donors like you, over $25,000 was raised from the various fundraisers and events.

These dollars benefit local cancer patients and their families at the Avera Cancer Institute.

Special Thanks to the Following:

  • J&L Harley-Davidson
  • Snap On Tools
  • Orion Food Systems
  • Hair Stylists from Fringe Salon, Sola Salon Studios and Salon Artist Suites
  • Oh My Cupcakes!
  • Texas Roadhouse
  • O’Gormon Volleyball and Athletics
  • Glamour Defined
  • J&M Transmission and Auto Service

Swinging into Action!

And it's a hole in one! Compassion in Action 5th Annual Best Shot Golf Tournament raised $16,000 to benefit cancer patients and their families at the Avera Cancer Institute Sioux Falls. Through various events, Compassion in Action has raised over $185,000 since 2010! Thank you to the event sponsors, participants and volunteers for another successful year.

Compassion in Action was created to raise funds to support patients and families battling blood disorder cancers and/or awaiting a bone marrow transplant with financial assistance for additional expenses associated with their illness. For more information on upcoming Compassion in Action events, visit:

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 22nd 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 $3,800 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 Revs Up Cancer Awareness

It was a day of pink power at the Ride Pink Poker Run on on August 28! The adrenaline-filled event raised $6,500 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.

Toe-Tapping Tunes Trigger Support

Thank you to everyone who attended and supported the 2nd Annual Swan Songs Serenade on Saturday, July 29. The evening was a huge success as guests enjoyed a variety of songs performed by Christine Albert and Chris Gage from Austin, Texas. The show also included special guest Kenny Putnam.

Dollars raised benefit Swan Songs@Avera; a new program that fulfills end-of-life musical wishes by providing private concerts for patients receiving hospice care.

We are the Champions:
28th Annual Avera Race Rocks the Community!

Cancer was no rival for the thousands of attendees, sponsors, volunteers and community supporters who came out champions at this year's Aver Race Against Breast Cancer on Saturday, May 7. Thank you to all who crossed the finish line for the fight. Whether running, walking cheering or making a donation, your gift ensures all cancer survivors and their families receive the best possible care at Avera Cancer Institute.

This year, nearly 5,200 participants filled the parking lot and streets, raising over $425,000 to benefit the local community. Visit to learn more about what your gift supports, view event photos, watch highlight video and more!

An Event Over the Top: The Big Grape Featuring The Big Hop a Big Hit!

The Big Grape 2014

Thanks to you, The Big Grape Featuring the Big Hop Craft Beer Exhibit was a triumph with its array of fine wines, gourmet food and expanded craft beer sampling. This year, the one-of-a-kind wine, beer and food-tasting event raised over $235,000 to benefit patients and families at Avera Children's Hospital.

Thank you to our loyal sponsors, volunteers, attendees and partners for ensuring that children in our community have access to a variety of vital services and programs. To learn more about what your gift supports, visit

Growing and Giving!

Thank you to the SD Knights of Columbus for raising over $2,500 for their “No Shave November Project.” The hair-raising event was created to support men’s health at the Avera Cancer Institute.

Even though things may have smoothed out for the group, their dollars will continue making a difference in the lives of cancer patients and their families.

(Pictured from left: Gerald Dvorak, Dan Johnson, Sarah Murphy (Foundation), Dan Dwire, Thad Liebig and Ray Pierson).

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Every gift to Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center furthers our mission to provide the best quality care to patients and their families while remaining dedicated to serving our local community by providing care to all, regardless of ability to pay. You can be part of our healing ministry through your gift.

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