Sunshine News
Shannon "Sunshine" Larson

Sunshine Fest: Shannon’s Story

Happy New Year!

Sunshine Fest is coming up quickly! We always like to kick it off by remembering why we are doing all of this.

Van & Dee Larson created the Sunshine Memorial Foundation to honor the memory of their daughter, Shannon “Sunshine” Larson.

Shannon was born and raised in Grand Forks, North Dakota. She 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 her fiancé, Matt, moved to the Phoenix area in 2007. On September 8th of that year, 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.

The Sunshine Memorial Foundation was created to help others in a way similar to which Shannon did. We are 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 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, especially during this cold snap!

Until then,