Sunshine News

Health and Wellness Fair

One of our main goals at the foundation is to educate people about health and wellness. That is what we have been about since day one.

Because of this, one of the main aspects of Sunshine Fest is the Health and Wellness Fair. The fair is a great way for local organizations to bring awareness to the amazing services they provide.

Some booths that will be set up this year include Altru’s Sanny & Jerry Ryan Center for Prevention & Genetics, Altru Ambulance Services, Valley Community Health Center, and ChiroRx Chiropractic and Wellness Care.

So come to Sunshine Fest and check out all of the cool booths. You might just get some free swag!

If you would like a booth for your organization, please fill out this form by February 8th.

Until then,



Sunshine Fest is more fun when you’re part of a team! So why not grab some friends and create one?

Not sure where to start? I’ve created a list of ideas.

Last year was my family’s first time going to Sunshine Fest. They all just signed up individually, and they had a great time. This year, however, I’m trying to encourage them to go as a team. It could be something simple, like The Edwards. Or we can spice it up a bit and do The Electric Edwards. Everyone could wear yellow and maybe we could draw lightning bolts on our shirts.

Every year we have quite a few people that create teams at work. What a great way to bond with your coworkers!

Along similar lines, if you are part of a club or other organization, you could also create a team! Sorority sisters… choirs… sports teams… etc.

You don’t need to have a theme, but it is encouraged. We do give away an award for the team that embodies the most sunshine! Some of my personal favorites from last year were AHS 6th Floor “Wizards of Gauze” and “Old McAltru”–Altru’s 4th Floor Women & Children.

There are also awards for the teams that raise the most funds and the teams with the most participants. What do you need to do to be in the running? First of all, designate a team captain. This is important because this is the person we will contact to let you know you’ve won! Also, the captain will be in charge of the team form. The team form should include every member of your team. Any funds raised by a member can go under the “Donation” section next to their name. The captain will turn in the team form and all funds raised at Sunshine Fest.

If you have any questions at all regarding teams, don’t hesitate to e-mail or call us at 701-738-2462.

Sunshine Fest is as much fun as YOU guys make it! We thank you so much for all the excitement we’ve had around this event!

Until then,


Sunshine Fest is less than a month away! That means it is time to start registering.



Are you feeling strong? Want to try running a 5K… outdoors… in February… in Grand Forks?

The run costs $25 to participate in. Plus it comes with a sweet shirt!

How to Register:

  1. Right-click the following link and open in a new tab or window.
  2. Select the number of runners. You’ll also be given an opportunity to make an additional donation. This is completely optional.
  3. Click Register Now.
  4. Fill out the waiver. If you are part of a team, this is also where you will enter/select your team. Lastly, don’t forget to select a size for your T-shirt!
  5. Click Proceed to Payment Options.
  6. Select to pay by credit card under Methods of Payment.
  7. Click Pay Now in the bottom right corner.
  8. Enter your credit card information and hit the blue pay button.

You are now set to run the 5K at Sunshine Fest! Just remember to dress appropriately for the weather.


Prefer to exercise indoors in February? Then the 3K walk is for you. It’s $10 to get in the door.

How to Register:

  1. Right-click the following link and open in a new tab or window.
  2. Select the number of walkers. If you are going as a family, just select the Family Pass. This covers two adults and their children. Also note that children under the age of 8 are free. This is also where you can make an additional donation if you so choose.
  3. Click Register Now.
  4. Fill out the waiver. If you are part of a team, this is also where you will enter/select your team. If you chose to make an additional donation, check the box Use Attendee #1’s information for ALL attendees so you don’t have to fill out your information again.
  5. Click Proceed to Payment Options.
  6. Select to pay by credit card under Methods of Payment.
  7. Click Pay Now in the bottom right corner.
  8. Enter your credit card information and hit the blue pay button.

Congratulations! You are now set to participate at Sunshine Fest. We look forward to seeing you!

If you have any questions about the process, don’t hesitate to call us at 701-738-2462 or e-mail

Although we encourage pre-registering, registration will be available at the door the day of the event.


Until then,


Sunshine Fest: The Making Of

When asked by our staff member, Traci, for some input about the making of Sunshine Fest and a history of sorts, one thing came to mind, YOU. There have been so many people over the years that have helped build this event into what it has become. The resounding comments that we hear from those that have been involved by volunteering or attending is that Sunshine Fest is a FUN event, and to that end, we’ve been blessed.
The history and logistics of Sunshine Fest over the years has changed immensely. We’ve gone from 106 people the first year to now sustaining over 1,000 each year!  What started as a ‘find whoever we can’ to meet around a table to get the event pulled off successfully, changed into a full on labyrinth of committees working towards shared goals. It has certainly evolved over the years. However, one thing we’ve found consistent is that a concerned group of citizens can change the world. And we have those in our community!

From the early ‘round-table’ to the large committees:

  • You’ve helped envision what Sunshine Fest could be
  • You’ve helped refine what Sunshine Fest should be
  • You’ve given countless hours to shape what Sunshine Fest is today
  • You’ve shared the message, built teams, and inspired others

Sunshine Fest is a Health & Wellness event that tries to ‘Bring Sunshine’ to everyone in the winter to honor Shannon’s January 22nd birthday. The original vision was to raise funds to affect community needs of all walks of life: “sharing in the work to share in the wealth,” all in a caring spirit. Yes, there’s a Health & Wellness Fair, a 5k Run & a 3K Walk, but it’s become so much more. Some years we’ve started planning the day the Fest is over and others we just begin late in the year. It always comes together though.  People gathering together to support their community, dressing up in exciting team costumes, & sharing with each other their passion.

We’ve had hundreds of volunteers help and we couldn’t have done it without you.  For starters, here’s some key one’s:

“More Sunshine Award” – Started the first year in 2011 for the “Person that best embodies a spirit and attitude of helping others with the greatest amount of Sunshine”

Brittany Dvorak, Carma Hanson, Mary Glessner, JoEllen Cariveau, Ann-Marie Morrow, & Jan Bjork

“Volunteer of the Year Award” – Started in 2014 “For volunteer service beyond the call of duty that has truly made a difference.”

Don Anderson, Jerilyn Rethemeier & Pam Henderson

Above are just some that have helped in years past, but is certainly not everyone. Thank you to those that have helped in the past and come join us if you haven’t. There are still things to accomplish to make Sunshine Fest a big success again on February 11th, 2017!  Would you like to be a part of it?  Give us a call at 701.738.2462 or email to help, or just pre-register here.  We’d love to see you!

Until then,


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!

© Copyright - Sunshine Memorial Foundation