The Big Grape continues the tradition of improving the lives of children and families through partnerships with friends and sponsors who share in our vision of outstanding health ministry. Thanks to your generous support, proceeds raised continue to be used to enhance pediatric care at Avera Children’s Hospital.
What Your Gifts Support:
- Pediatric Social Workers to offer convenient coordination during your stay
- Child Life Specialists help make a child’s hospital stay less intimidating through play and education
- Children's Champion recognition program supports positive reinforcement and necessary encouragement to aid in the healing and recovery process
- Advanced technology to provide world-class care
Creating a family-friendly facility for our patients and families is a priority. Funds from The Big Grape are also used to provide a colorful, kid-friendly and family-centered environment. There's a play room with lots of toys and games, and each child gets to visit our "Treasure Chest" to take home a special prize after their stay.
Children also have access to free family-friendly movies on demand and games. We have special programs like developmental play and pet therapy to comfort and engage children during their stay.
A Toast to You from Luxury Auto Mall!
From all of us at Luxury Auto Mall of Sioux Falls, we want to personally thank you for attending The Big Grape and opening your hearts to the children and families in our community. We are proud to stand next to The Big Grape in raising the reputation of Sioux Falls as one that cares for its people. Because of your support of our Cadillac, BMW and Mercedes-Benz dealership, we have been able to do this.
Mike Chaplin, General Manager
Overcoming Obstacles: Claire and Elena
Sisters Claire and Elena share much more than just last names, they also share a diagnosis. At the age of 2, young Claire started showing symptoms of coughing, reflux, congestion, and trouble sleeping. After seeing an ENT and then Dr. Nanton at Avera Children’s Hospital, she was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE). The esophageal disorder is a chronic, allergic inflammatory disease of the esophagus. If left untreated, EoE can lead to permanent damage and swallowing difficulties.
Thankfully, her loving parents Danielle and Dean took immediate action. They began working closely with the care team at Avera Children’s where they determined the best course of action. After six long years of trial and error, a growing Claire has her disorder mostly at bay with proper medications, special diet and even environmental modifications.
The young family was put to the test again when older sister Elena began showing similar symptoms. They found themselves back at the starting point but with a different child. A confirmed diagnosis meant even more hospital visits and appointments. It also meant getting a feeding tube for Elena along with proper medication, special diet and environmental changes. Thankfully, Danielle had already made their home “allergy-proof” and was used to cooking for special dietary needs. However, they still live with the day to day special considerations depending on what is going on at school and beyond.
Thanks to the caring team at Avera Children’s Hospital, the girls have adapted well and are living life to the fullest. They really enjoy seeing Leah, a child life specialist, on Mondays when they come to the hospital for routine EGD’s. She is a bright spot on these stressful days and provides much appreciated support to the whole family.
Parents Danielle and Dean are grateful for events like The Big Grape for supporting vital programs such as the Child Life team and numerous other services and programs. To show their overwhelming appreciation, Claire and a friend even asked that gifts from their birthday party last year go to supporting other patients at Avera Children’s by raising over $100 in toys and gifts to be used for the Treasure Chest on the pediatrics unit. Elena used a school project to conduct a book drive and collected over 100 books and over $100 cash for the Child Life program before Christmas this year along with two of her classmates. They are paying it forward and honored to support the Big Grape, too!
Strength and Courage: Sydney and Sophie
Full of smiles and laughter, sisters Sydney and Sophie enjoy all the things little girls love to do. Hard to believe they spent countless hours being treated for severe frost bite and hyperthermia after being involved in a serious car accident that claimed the lives of their father and brother.
True survivors, the girls narrowly escaped the tragic event and were airlifted to Avera Children’s Hospital where they were stabilized before being transferred to an Iowa hospital’s burn unit.
Today, over a year later, the girls are living life to the fullest but are still coping with the aftermath of the accident. With only minor loss of sensation in their extremities, their family is grateful for the care they received and are still impressed with the coordination of care from the time they were initially rescued. Between the Careflight team’s quick responses to the Child Life Specialist’s compassionate communication, the girls were able to heal physically and were even provided grief counseling to help cope with their losses.
Thanks to generous gifts from events like The Big Grape, all children and families are able to receive life-saving care that extends beyond the hospital walls.
Four-year-old Samuel may have been born with a heart defect but that has not slowed
wed him down. This dinosaur-loving little boy continues to navigate life with a smile. Diagnosed at birth with a heart murmur, his care team and family hoped he would grow out of it. But as he grew, he began having more issues. After undergoing extensive testing at Avera Children’s Hospital, they discovered Samuel had a bicuspid valve and aortic stenosis, dangerous defects that affect his aortic valve. The doctors told the young family that it was likely he would deal with heart issues for the rest of his life.
In 2016, he underwent a balloon dilation procedure to widen the valve and allow better blood flow. Deemed a success, little Samuel was discharged the next day. His mother, Mariela, is forever grateful for the care Samuel received. From the child life specialist team to the treasure chest filled with toys, the family’s worries were put at ease. Even though he will live with the condition for the rest of his life, Samuel continues to overcome obstacles despite having to undergo regular check-ups and potential surgical procedures.
Today, Samuel is thriving and was even looks forward to seeing his care team on a regular basis. He especially loves playing in the children’s area and enjoys the occasional visit from a therapy dog. Thanks to generous contributions and community support in The Big Grape, vital funds ensure this type of quality care be available to all.
*Photos courtesy of Karen at Sunflower Photography