During six designated home games (twice a month), the Larks, in conjunction with Sanford health, will recognize a pre-selected individual(s) on the field during an inning break. The honoree will be someone who has overcome some type of serious, debilitating illness. Sanford Health hosted the honoree along with his or her support team of family, friends, doctors and other hospital representatives. In addition, after the Home Run for Life event, the honoree was presented with a customized Larks jersey with their name on the back, a Larks autographed bat, and a certificate declaring them an honorary Larks team member.
During the inning break, the honoree and their support team are taken to the field. The honoree stands at home plate while their story is told over the PA system for the 1,600+ fans to hear. Once their story is told, a soundbite of a home run is heard over the PA system, and the honoree then takes a symbolic turn around the bases. While running, the Larks play the same celebration music that’s played when the Larks players hit a home run. The visiting team and the home team line-up along the first and third base lines to high-five the honoree as he/she makes their lap around the bases.
It’s a special experience and we’re so excited that YOU, our fans, were a part of it. Check out Our 2017 Sanford Health Home Run for Life Honorees Below:
Friday, June 2, 2017 – Hunter Seifert
Cancer may have brushed Hunter Seifert back. But, like an All-Star, he dusted himself off, stepped back to the plate and hit cancer out of the park.
Since his diagnosis in October 2016 of Stage IV alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma — an aggressive, rare form of soft tissue cancer that had invaded his organs — Hunter, 15, of Bismarck, has been the captain of his treatment team. While receiving chemotherapy every week, he’s never gone on the disabled list. He never called for a pinch hitter while adjusting to a new normal of treatment for tumors so numerous and substantial that they fractured his back. One was so large it was pushing his heart in the wrong direction. In addition to his weekly chemotherapy, earlier in 2017 the Shiloh Christian School student underwent 28 days of radiation treatment. He leads by example and his family — including parents Dan and Julie Seifert — gets strength from the positive attitude he has exhibited during his trip around the bases. Congratulations, Hunter!
Saturday, June 17, 2017 – Ethan Mueller
A true MVP, Ethan Mueller has battled congenital heart defects since birth.
At 24 weeks of pregnancy, Brian and Brenda Mueller learned that scans of their little-slugger-to-be Ethan showed indications of Down syndrome and an associated heart disorder. When Ethan arrived, doctors found a hole between the heart’s chambers and problems with the valves that regulate blood flow in the heart. Now, he’s 13 years old and loves his family, his school and his sports — especially Michael Jordan and the New York Yankees. Congratulations, Ethan!
Thursday, June 29, 2017 – Carson Gietzan
Carson Gietzen is the captain of a truly great team helping him battle his immunodeficiency.
Carson’s big brother, Brayden, is his man in the on-deck circle when he steps to the plate. Like most boys at age 5, Carson is filled with spunk. Unlike most children his age, he has spent many nights in the hospital, fighting life-threatening emergencies. He has faced recurring infections beginning when he was 2-weeks-old, being diagnosed with supportive lung disease and adrenal insufficiency. This year he was diagnosed with a primary immunodeficiency known as specific polysaccharide antibody deficiency. He undergoes daily nebulizer and vest treatments and spends hours receiving monthly IV donor immunoglobulin therapy at Sanford Children’s. Despite facing pitches that would knock most batters down, Carson stays up, active and positive. Carson loves sports and has worked to earn honors on the wrestling mat. When he grows up, he wants to be a police officer. And 8-year-old Brayden supports him all the way, helping Carson with medications and sitting with him through treatments. Congratulations, Carson!
Saturday, July 8, 2017 – Grant Edwards
Grant Edwards loves being on the baseball diamond.
He and his all-star team of Sanford Health doctors and physical therapists aren’t letting a rare form of muscular dystrophy keep him from missing an inning. Grant is 7 years old and a big fan of sports – especially baseball, basketball, and soccer. At the age of 3, he was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a rare genetic disorder affecting approximately 9,000 Americans, which causes muscle degeneration and weakness. Though his condition makes mobility and maintaining balance more difficult, Grant is making his healthcare team proud with his progress. He inspires his parents Steve and Mallory and little brother Christian with how he is thriving – on and off the field. Congratulations, Grant!
Thursday, August 3, 2017 – Kautzman Family
Jared, a cancer survivor, and Hollie, a nurse, recently took part in a rare triple play: the birth of their triplets, Landry, Graeme, and Camryn.
Jared and Hollie Kautzman started their American dream in New Salem, N.D., falling in love in high school. But in 2011, life threw Jared, an elementary school teacher in Underwood, a curveball: cancer. He knocked cancer out of the park, married the love of his life and they started a family. Congratulations, Kautzman family!
Friday, August 11, 2017 – Karla Fischer
A dip in the lake almost turned tragic for Karla Fischer nearly two years ago. But the quick thinking of her friends, helpful North Dakota neighbors and a team of all-star law enforcement and emergency medical professionals worked together to save her life.
August 30, 2015 was hot and humid in North Dakota. It was a great day to be on the water, so when Karla’s friends invited her to spend it on their pontoon on Lake Sakakawea, she gladly accepted. Karla was in and out of the pontoon, swimming around the bay – chatting away a great Sunday. As the clock neared 6 p.m., she decided to make one more splash into the water before the boat headed for shore. She made her leap. In an instant, she lost consciousness. And her friends quickly noticed she hadn’t popped up to the surface as she had so many times before. They began looking for her. After hitting the water, she had floated toward the boat’s idle motor, a swimsuit strap becoming entangled on a propeller. Friends and fellow boaters worked to get Karla out of the water and began administering CPR. They alerted law enforcement and emergency responders, including Garrison Ambulance and Fire Rescue and the McLean County Sheriff’s Office. She was transported to Garrison Memorial Hospital. Sanford AirMed then provided emergency care and transportation to Sanford Medical Center in Bismarck.
Karla was in the Intensive Care Unit for four days. But her stay on the disabled list was brief, released from the hospital on September 4, back at work as a bank auditor four days later – on a full-time basis a week after that. She’s gardening, fishing and riding her Harley-Davidson without side effects.
What caused Karla’s initial unconsciousness is unknown. What is known is that she’s an MVP fighter who had a hall-of-fame team with her from the moment she needed help right up until she rounded the bases. Congratulations, Karla!