Archive for year: 2016

Sunshine Hospitality Home

Sunshine Fest is our biggest fundraiser of the year. The proceeds from this event will go towards the Sunshine Hospitality Home.

What is the Sunshine Hospitality Home? Good question. The Sunshine Hospitality Home will be a place where patients and their families can stay while seeking medical treatment in Grand Forks. It’s sort of like a Ronald McDonald House, but for all ages.
The home will feature guest rooms, guest suites, and guest residence apartments to accommodate all lengths of stay. There will be dining rooms and kitchens so guests don’t have to eat out of vending machines or eat out for every meal, which can get expensive quickly. In addition, there will be an art/music room, game/play room, faith room, a wellness center, and much more. Stop by our booth at Sunshine Fest to see the blueprints!

The home will be just west of Altru’s main campus and north of Sertoma Park. It was important to us that the hospitality home be close to the hospital for the guests’ ease and convenience.

Comfort. Compassion. Convenience. That is what the Hospitality Home is all about. It’s much more than just a place to stay.


We’re so excited to break ground in 2017!


Until then,


Shannon’s Story

Can you believe it is already December? It’s crazy how fast the year has gone by! We’re starting to amp up for Sunshine Fest!

Ever wonder of how the Sunshine Memorial Foundation and Sunshine Fest came to be?

Shannon “Sunshine” Larson was born and raised in Grand Forks, North Dakota, the daughter of Van and Dee Larson. Shannon attended the University of North Dakota and got a job at Ecolab after graduation. In the fall of 2006, she moved to Kazakhstan, where she taught Business English, tutored students in English usage, was a member of an International Hiking Club, and participated in many philanthropic activities. While there, she and her fiancé, Matt Morrison, traveled extensively, including several weeks in Indonesia.

Shannon had a passion for living life to its fullest and was a ray of sunshine. Spending time with family and friends and traveling were her main interests. Her winning smile, compassionate and helping nature, generosity, and sense of humor, touched the lives of all those around her. Whether you had a long-term friendship or just met Shannon, she had such a charm and genuineness about her that she seemed to captivate you, and would always connect with a wink and a smile!

Shannon and Matt moved to the Phoenix area in 2007. On September 8, 2007, Shannon died from heat exhaustion while hiking in Usery Mountain Park. Although she had done extensive hiking previously, she was unaware of the effects of the intense heat and the subsequent large quantities of water necessary under these circumstances. Shannon was 31 years old and just beginning a new chapter in her life. Perhaps her death could have been avoided if information had been available to her about the dangers of dehydration and heat stroke.

Her family created the Sunshine Memorial Foundation to honor her memory and help others just as she did. The Foundation is currently raising funds to build the Sunshine Hospitality Home which will help so many. It will provide a place to stay for those who are seeking medical treatment in Grand Forks. It will most definitely be a place that brings sunshine to many in difficult circumstances. Proceeds from the upcoming Sunshine Fest will benefit the Home.

We could all use a little more sunshine in our days. My challenge to you is to bring an extra dose of sunshine to someone else’s life this week, friend or stranger.

Until then,


American Women’s Medical Association volunteer to help Sunshine Memorial Foundation

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The Sunshine Memorial Foundation is so grateful to the American Women’s Medical Association (AMWA) med students at UND who are volunteering their time on their day off of school to help our efforts. They are working on addressing thank you letters and letters to our area churches with information about the project and the FAITH Room. We are so blessed that they have stepped up to help this project in this way. We thank them for their time, we thank them for their excitement with this project, and we thank them for their compassionate hearts.

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Girl raises $500 from lemonade stand for Sunshine Hospitality Home

This summer, young Natalie had a lemonade stand made so she could sell lemonade and make money for the Sunshine Hospitality Home. She raised nearly $500 for the Hatton – Northwood team’s goal of bringing in $50,000 to adopt a room in the facility. Recently, she brought her lemonade stand to Bethany Lutheran Church in Hatton when Pastor Mark Ellingson spoke about the project. Here’s a shout out to young people working hard and making this world a better place. We are grateful, Natalie for your help to support this project and make the Sunshine Hospitality Home a reality!!

Gate City Bank donates $100,000 to Sunshine Hospitality Home

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Such an amazing story and video! Seeing this project come to fruition will be life changing. Thank you Gate City Bank for your gift and support!–
You can #MakeaDifference by making a donation at Gate City Bank or by simply spreading the word! #SunshineHome #ForaBetterWayofLife Read more about Sunshine Memorial Foundation:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Sunshine Fest 2017 is coming!

It’s true, Sunshine Fest 2017 is approaching!

The event will be held, Saturday, February 11th at the Ralph Englestad Arena from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Look for opportunities to get involved and volunteer!

Sunshine Fest 2016…It’s a wrap!

The big day has come and gone. I would like to thank you all for participating in this year’s Sunshine Fest. It was, again, a wonderful day filled with fun and support for a wonderful organization. This year there were nearly 1,000 participants!

There were several award winners as well. Here’s the official list.

May I have a drumroll, please…..


Volunteer of the Year: Pam Henderson

            For volunteer service beyond the call of duty that has truly made a difference

More Sunshine Individual Award: Jan Bjork

            Person that best embodies a spirit and attitude of helping others with the greatest amount of Sunshine

Pam and Jan, award winners 2016

Pam & Jan with their awards


More Sunshine Team Award: AHS 6th Floor “Wizards of Gauze”

Team that embodies the greatest amount of Sunshine


Team Participants Award–Community Team: Surg-Proc Happy Campers

IMG_0095 DSC_0340

Team Participants Award–Corporate Team: Alerus Financial

Team Most Funds Raised Award–Corporate Team: Alerus Financial


Team Most Funds Raised Award–Community Team: Soaring Sunshine

Hidie Larson


DSC_0235The creativity and spirit of these teams, volunteers and participants did not disappoint! Thank you for your efforts in making the event fun and successful. There are many more terrific photos that can be viewed at . Thank you for joining me on the blog! Happy Spring to all and don’t forget to spread some Sunshine wherever you go!


Until then,

Stacy Signature for blog


Sunshine Fest is here!

3 MORE DAYS! I hope you’ve registered and are gearing up to attend Saturday morning. All the final details are coming together. There are a few things the organizers would like you to know as you head to join the fun. Pam Henderson shared some information with me. Please take note!

Sunshine Fest Refresh CLR (1) (1)

Sunshine Fest is this Saturday, and the forecast looks marvelous!

  • Doors open for participants at 9:00 a.m.  Please use the Northwest or Southwest entrance of the Ralph Englestad Arena (map below).
  • The main registration table, as well as the Team Check-In Table, will be located right inside the Southwest doors.
  • Runner registration will be in the East entrance by the Sioux Shop.
  • Vendors will be set up around the main concourse of the arena as part of the Health and Wellness Fair.  This includes various vendors from around the region talking about all areas of health and wellness for all ages!
  • Again this year we will have a Kidz Zone and Therapy Dogs.
  • Make sure to get your “Booth Passport” stamped in all four zones for your chance at winning some great prizes.
  • All participants will also be eligible for the door prizes.  We will be drawing names for prizes throughout the walk.


We will have some brief announcements beginning at 10:00 a.m., and then will be kicking off the 3K Indoor Walk with the Red River Drum Line at 10:15 AM.  This will be immediately followed by the 5K Outdoor Fun Run start at 10:30 AM, which will start just outside the East Entrance.


It’s not too late to get registered Walk-In registrations are also welcome. Help us fill the Ralph with some sunshine this weekend!  Event will run from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 Noon.


I look forward to seeing many smiling faces and people having fun, fun, fun!

Until then,

Stacy Signature for blog



Get registered!

January is flying by! As I type this post, the sun in shining through my windows. Sunshine Fest is coming up so quickly. January 30th will be here before we know it! I heard last week that all of the volunteers needs are filled. That is incredible! Thank you to all who are helping out and getting prepared for the best Sunshine Fest yet.


Now we just need to fill Ralph Engelstad Arena with even more smiling faces and maybe a few fun costumes too! You can register individually or get your team together. Head over to to get registered today.


Enjoy the sunshine today and the warm winter temperatures forecast this weekend…and get registered too!

Until then,

Stacy Signature for blog



Wellness Fair!

A wonderful part of Sunshine Fest is the Wellness Fair. Many organizations from our community come together to let everyone know what they are about. I loved walking by all of the tables last year. There are so many fantastic organizations providing information and services of all kinds. Here are a couple of pictures from previous Wellness Fairs. As you can see in the pictures you may even pick up swag!

safe kids 2015wellness fair swag

One of this year’s participants is The Cope Well Foundation.

The Cope Well Foundation is a local nonprofit organization located in Grand Forks, ND. Founded by a Grand Forks native, Ashley Rae, in 2011, Cope Well focuses on helping those who have been affected by cancer cope with the emotional challenges of cancer survivorship. Cope Well offers 3 main services, which include a Mentorship Program, an Activity Support Plan and a Counseling Program, all of which are free to those who want to get involved. For more information on how to get involved or how to help support our cause, please connect with Cope Well today by visiting their website at or call directly at 701.738.4897! Together we will ‘Cope Well to Live Well’, said founder Ashley Rae.

Wellness Fair 2015 - Ashley Rae

I’m looking forward to checking out the fair and I hope to see you there!

Until then,

Stacy Signature for blog

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