Be part of something special at the ballpark.
A memorable experience you won’t forget.
Each season, the Larks and Sanford Health honor and recognize six individuals who have overcome a serious, debilitating illness or disease.
Each honoree and their support team are escorted onto the field during a select inning. The honoree stands at home plate while their story is told to more than 1,900 fans. The honoree then takes a symbolic run around the bases.
The visiting team and the Larks line-up along the first and third base lines and high-five the honoree as he/she makes their lap.
When the honoree safely touches home plate, the Larks and Sanford Health honor their strength and courage with a custom Larks jersey, a Larks autographed bat, and a certificate declaring them an honorary Larks team member.
Check back to find out more information about our 2019 Home Run for Life honorees.
2018 Sanford Health Home Run for Life Honorees
Geo was doing errands with his one-year-old daughter in Bismarck last September when he suffered a significant stroke. The stroke symptoms caused Geo to pass out on the lawn in front of his bank. Bleeding from his mouth and unable to respond,
bank employees called the ambulance who then transported Geo to Sanford Bismarck.
Because of the severity of his stroke, it was quickly determined that Geo should be transferred to Sanford Health in Fargo for further care. He underwent two surgeries due to the swelling in his brain, one to remove the skull enough to allow for swelling and another to replace the skull.
Just as Geo was recovering from the surgeries, he began suffering from seizures and again had to be in the hospital for six weeks. Geo was officially discharged from the hospital in April, after seven months of intensive care.
As a result of the stroke, Geo had paralysis on his left side and routine tasks were difficult, if not impossible, to complete. In the beginning he struggled with basics like walking and self-care. Recovery has been a challenge for Geo and his young family, but they’ve had support along the way. Geo ’s mother came from her home country of Kenya to help care for his 9-year-old son, Aman, and 1-year-old daughter, Tephillah, while his wife, Margaret, works nights as a registered nurse at Sanford Health.
Geo received home health care for a three-week period and is now doing daily rehabilitation, which he works on at home for many hours each day. He is slowly gaining back the use of the left side of his body. He is grateful for the life-saving medical care he received.
Geo has found a local Sanford Health support group that connects him with other stroke patients for encouragement and hope. As he continues to heal, he plans to give back to the group by volunteering to help others.
The Ryckmans could not imagine their life without their three-year- old son, Chance. But before Chance even arrived, his parents, Mike and Kristy, had an incredibly di cult decision to make.
At 20 weeks pregnant, Kristy went in for her normal ultrasound. That is when they discovered the baby had the most severe case of Spina Biffida, myelomengocele. This means that the baby’s spinal cord wasn’t developing properly. The baby would su er from issues with involuntary movements such as breathing, eating, sucking and opening and closing his eyes. This could result in needing a breathing and feeding tube along with the possibility of paralysis from the waist down and little or no bowel and bladder functions.
Now in the hands of the maternal fetal medicine specialist at Sanford Health, the Ryckmans were presented with all their options. They could either terminate the pregnancy, have surgery done on the baby after it was born or have fetal surgery. After weighing the pros and cons of each choice, Mike and Kristy decided to go forward with fetal surgery. In this complicated procedure, the baby would be removed from the womb, operated on to repair the damage to the back and then returning the baby back to the womb.
The surgery was performed with no issues and Kristy was sent to bed for the rest of her pregnancy. Chance Mark Ryckman was born at 30 weeks on December 12, 2014, weighing only 3 pounds and 1 oz. He spent 68 days at the Sanford NICU during which he had two additional surgeries. Now, Chance meets with many doctors and specialists to help him develop. He has changed the lives of his parents and two older sisters who now have a completely different outlook on life.
At 30 weeks pregnant, Drew Diederich’s mom found out that Drew was missing part of her cerebellum, the part of the brain at the back of the skull. Her parents were told that she may not survive – but when she arrived, Drew was ready to beat the odds.
Born on October 6, 2016, Drew was immediately taken to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), where she would stay for two weeks. An MRI helped doctors diagnose Drew with Dandy Walker Syndrome, but there was no way to know the severity of it yet. The MRI also discovered craniostenosis on the left side of Drew’s skull, meaning that it had fused together too soon in her development.
During her time in the NICU, Drew was also diagnosed with heart disease. Doctors discovered that she had patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), an opening between two blood vessels leading from her heart, and a ventricular septal defect (VSD), a hole in her heart. Both of these congenital heart defects made Drew lethargic and slowed her growth.
Her care team waited until April 2017, just six months old, for Drew to undergo open heart surgery, to repair both her PDA and VSD. Then, just seven weeks later, Drew had cranial surgery to repair her skull.
Despite several setbacks, Drew made her rst unassisted steps at 19 months. She now has a healthy heart and a perfect skull. Drew weighs 18 pounds and her family is amazed by her every day because, despite her small size, she has a huge, witty personality.
Drew’s big brother, Drake, has been the most supportive big brother and has always understood his sister’s struggles. Drew is a miracle to her family and has been a true blessing in their lives.
This season we celebrated an incredible woman and warrior, Sharlene Schuh. On July 5, 2018, the fifty-four-year-old passed away after a courageous six-year battle against multiple cancer diagnoses.
Over 35 years ago, she married the love of her life, Ronald Schuh. Together, they raised two remarkable children Jennifer and Justin.
In the fall of 2012, Sharlene was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer, and she underwent a yearlong treatment journey that included chemotherapy, a bilateral mastectomy and radiation at Sanford Health. Once her breast cancer was in remission, she thought the worst was over. Yet, a few years later cancerous lung nodules were found.
Again, Sharlene persevered despite the odds being against her. Through the aid of her caregivers and care team, Sharlene fought with everything she had and faced the next round of treatment.
As she was on the cusp of keeping her cancer under control, a series of headaches had begun to overwhelm her. A brain MRI in September of 2017 showed she had multiple tumors. Sharlene would need to begin 10 sessions of radiation treatment as soon as possible.
She continued treatment with unfathomable strength and grace until passing earlier this month. Her life was vibrant and filled with an abundance of loved ones supporting her.
She worked as a deputy sheri of Burleigh Country for over 30 years. Sharlene enjoyed spending her time gardening, landscaping, traveling and fishing with her family on their pontoon boat.
Grateful to have shared her life are her father Otto Geigle; her husband Ronald Schuh; her children Jennifer Getz and Justin Schuh; her daughter-in-law Brittany Schuh; and her grandchildren Emma Kilian, Alexander Kilian and Jemma Schuh.
The Weinands are a special family. For years, Katie and her husband struggled to grow their family before deciding that adoption was the path to parenthood for them. They were overjoyed when they met their daughter in October of 2014. Shortly after, they were ready to add to their little family and started the adoption process again.
In the midst of adopting their son, Kali was both shocked and ecstatic to discover she was pregnant. However, the baby passed away in-utero, devastating the family. But one month later the adoption process was complete and in April 2016 they brought home their son.
Happy and content as a family of four, the Weinands couldn’t believe it when Kali found out she was expecting. The couple worked with Sanford Women’s in Bismarck to help deliver the special care and compassion Kali and her husband needed. The Weinands newest addition was so excited to join the family that he arrived early – 10 weeks early. While healthy and doing well now, the new baby boy will be spending a bit of time being carefully watched over and cared for by the team at the Sanford NICU. The Weinands can’t wait to bring him home so they can start their lives as a family of five.
Instead of running and playing like other kids their age, they will face surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and hospital or clinic visits.
These young heroes and their families inspire hope every day with their courage in the face of unimaginable challenges. They deserve every chance for a future beyond the pain and fear of cancer.
Brave Kids Bold Cures, powered by a passionate community of supporters, helps ensure Sanford Health has the resources and capacity to treat children with cancer closer to home. Generous donations make a difference for kids by helping: purchase lifesaving technology and equipment, advance pediatric cancer research, provide unique programs and services for pediatric patients and their families, and much more.