Sanford Health Home Run for Life

 

 

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.


We can’t wait to announce our 2020 Home Run for Life Honorees, check back soon!


2019 Sanford Health Home Run for Life Honorees

 

Benny Howling Wolf is a survivor.

Before August of 2016, Benny Howling Wolf was just a 3-year-old boy who loved
to play outdoors, swing on his tree swing and spend time with his five other siblings. Then he contracted West Nile virus, and his whole world changed.

The weekend of August 26, 2016, Benny woke up with red cheeks and a slight fever.
That slight fever progressed during the day to a fever of 109 degrees Fahrenheit, and he started seizing. After all possible measures were taken, Benny was flown by air ambulance to Sanford Health in Bismarck where he stopped seizing but slipped into a coma.

Benny’s family still had no idea what was causing their son to be so sick. Results
came back showing his brain was inflamed and swollen. It was then that Benny had to be intubated and airlifted to Sanford Children’s Hospital in Fargo. Here it was confirmed that he had contracted West Nile virus, which has no cure.

For the next week, Benny stayed in a coma. The doctors said he would not recover and informed the family to start making arrangements. But he fought and is still fighting every single day. He now goes to therapy three times a week and has met his year goal in six months. Now 6 years old, he has overcome something that a boy his age should never have gone through.


Lily Ford is a hard worker.
The Fords are so thankful to have their daughter Lily and her twin brother, Cash. Born prematurely at 30 weeks, Lily was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy is a developmental disorder that affects muscle movement. Lily uses a power wheelchair to get around independently. At almost 8 years old, Lily is already a great driver. If not using her wheelchair, she uses a walker to get to and from her various activities.

For her Cerebral Palsy, Lily attends physical and occupational therapy at Sanford Children’s Hospital once a week. Lily also participates in therapeutic horseback riding at Therapeutic Riding for Heart and Soul outside Bismarck once a week and loves her horse Tipsy. She engages in Dreams in Motion activities with dance being her favorite. When not out and about, Lily enjoys Barbies and card games with her many friends and family.

This fall, Lily will attend Liberty Elementary as a second grader. Lily hopes to continue to go, play and work hard in all areas of her life. Alongside her on this journey are many people who support her including her grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, therapists and friends.


Lukas Svalen is ready to run.

Lukas Svalen is a spirited 12-year-old who lights up the lives of those he meets. But at only 6 weeks old, the Svalens’ never imagined they would have to make such frightening decision for their son.

Two weeks after Lukas was born, the Svalen’s family doctor detected a heart murmur. An echocardiogram was done to reveal that Lukas had narrow heart valves and one less valve than a normal heart. This can be fatal in infants; but so can heart surgery, which was the proposed solution. The Svalens decided to trust their health care providers and go ahead with the surgery. Four weeks later, Lukas underwent heart surgery, and five days later Lukas was discharged and has not slowed down since.

Now as almost a teenager, Lukas loves to play baseball and tennis. If he could spend every waking minute outdoors hunting or fishing, he would. All that is left to show is a few scars on the side of Lukas’ chest and an astounding story to tell classmates.


Clint pushes past limits.

Sheyna and Aaron Strommen were in for a complete surprise with their third child, Clint. After a seemingly normal pregnancy, he was born with muscular dystrophy.

But Clint is just like any other kid his age. He loves music, sports, reading and beating his entire family at video games. He spends most of his days walking his show lamb and pig or calling in the cows on his family’s ranch. The only difference is that Clint does all of this in a gold and green wheelchair – in order to show allegiance to his favorite sports team, the North Dakota State University Bison.

With muscular dystrophy, Clint has challenges with swallowing, walking and lifting his arms. At 18 months old, he received his first electric wheelchair. For his mom, it was as if Clint had taken his first steps because it allowed him to explore his world like any other kid.

This fall, Clint will start second grade where he will wait patiently for his favorite class of the day: PE. He had adapted his own version of soccer using his wheelchair to maneuver the ball. Clint shows everyone around him that limitations are only what a person limits themselves to.


Benjamin is a blessing to all.

The Andersons are so thankful for their son, Benjamin. A week before he was born, Lance and Anna Anderson found out that he would need a little more care than most. Benjamin was born with microcephaly and other developmental disabilities.

Now eight years old, Benjamin uses a wheelchair for mobility and regularly attends physical, occupational, and speech therapy. His favorite therapy is swimming, which he also loves to do outside of therapy with friends and family. Much of his summer is spent on a pontoon enjoying the outdoors.

But more than anything, Benjamin loves being around people. He is currently involved with a children’s group at his church. There he enjoys the music and the kids from his class. This fall, Benjamin will be heading to Centennial Elementary for second grade. Ben will be joined by his younger sister, Alivia, while his older sister, Grace, will be heading to Horizon Middle School.

Benjamin’s family feels blessed to have him in their life. He completes their family, and they could not imagine their lives without him. From his family to his friends and therapists, Benjamin shows the world what unconditional love truly is each and every day.