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Fred & Adeline Gassen

Fred & Adeline Gassen

Sanford Children's reaps benefit of land gift

What happens when a child has to be alone in the hospital, when parents have a ranch and other children to care for? The answer to these questions and a long-ago experience helped lead one donor to make a generous gift to Sanford Children's.

Fred and Adeline Gassen of Gregory, SD, loved children but weren't blessed with children of their own. In the years since Fred's untimely death, Adeline carried on the family value of supporting various well-known, national children's causes. As Adeline and her attorney, Jack Gunvordahl, were preparing her charitable estate plans, he urged her to consider giving a gift to Sanford Children's since they helped children right here in South Dakota. Her desire was to fund a gift annuity with a piece of land, thus turning a low-income producing asset into a steady income stream for the rest of her life. While visiting with representatives from the Sanford Health Foundation Adeline and her sister, Rita, learned about Sanford's Child Life program, a special program that lends a hand and guides children through the hospital event. Sanford's Child Life Specialists are a unique team of professionals who help children and families cope with their medical experiences. Their main focus is to meet the child's emotional, coping and developmental needs throughout their hospital stay and to make the experience a more positive one.

As they learned how the Child Life professional stays with the child through the various procedures, Rita reminisced about a long hospital stay, far from home, that occurred more than 60 years earlier. She recalled being scared, isolated and alone. "If I had had a special person like that Child Life specialist to help me through everything," she said, "I wouldn't be remembering it with tears still to this day." Seeing how distressed her sister was, Adeline added, "If my gift can help children so they won't have sad memories 60 years from now, I would like to do that."

Each donor has a unique story to tell, a particular reason why he or she gives. For Adeline, it was the opportunity to help children through the difficulty of a hospital stay. The mission of Sanford Children's was a good match for Adeline's charitable interests. She is delighted that she can honor Fred's memory and help all the children of South Dakota at the same time. She hopes her gift will inspire others to do the same. "I wish everyone would give at least one gift to Sanford to help children," she said. "Wouldn't that be great?"

In recognition of Adeline's generosity a room in the new Sanford Children's Hospital will be named in honor of Adeline and Fred. For more information about gift annuities or supporting Sanford Children's, please call (605) 328-5700.

Please note: The name and image above is representative of a typical donor and may or may not be an actual donor to our organization. Since your gift annuity benefits may be different, you may want to click here to view a color example of your gift annuity benefits based on your age.