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Stories Archive


Patient Stories

Husband Entrusts Hospice to Care for His Wife in Her Final Year

Beginning with a long courtship and throughout 63 years of marriage, Larry and Marcella MacLeod experienced a life together full of depth, adventure and, above all, love. Both small-town natives, they knew of each other because they were from neighboring … Continue reading

Larry MacLeod
A Beautiful Bond: Hospice Helps Family Live Each Day to the Fullest

Seize the day. In the Kottsick home, these are not just words hanging on the wall, but a daily reminder. For the past 12 years, Julie Kottsick, a mom of two and wife of nearly 22 years, has lived with … Continue reading

Julie and CNA Arlene
With Humor and Hospice, Couple Finds Peace and Comfort at the End of Life

When you meet Bill and Karen, you instantly feel the love they have for one another. Their faces light up with joy when they sneak a glance of each other. A quick wit and robust laughter are at the heart … Continue reading

Generations of Care: Hospice Enables Family to Spend Valuable Time Together at the End of Life

Hospice care is unique in that it provides comfort, relieves pain and offers support to people with a terminal illness and those who care for them. With hospice, the miracle isn’t the cure… it is in the caring. And hospice workers, patients and families see miracles play out on a daily basis.

Roger Greenley
Kindness and Compassion Personified: Why I Support Hospice

I wish you could have known my wife, Marcia. She was brilliant—a perfect wife and mother of four. We met as children when I pushed her in a snowbank. Years later, Marcia waited for me while I spent two years … Continue reading

Family Ties: Daughter Forms Close-knit Bond with Father Through Use of Hospice Care

Growing up on a farm in rural North Dakota as one of six children, Lori Goering pitched in to help wherever she could. As one of only two daughters in the family, Lori often found herself tackling household chores like … Continue reading

Lori Goering and Robert
Caring for the Caregiver: Hospice Care Helps Wife Fulfill Vows to Husband

“For better or for worse, in sickness and in health …” This familiar verse, a promise made in many wedding vows, Sherry faithfully puts into practice each and every day as she cares for her terminally ill husband. For Sherry, … Continue reading

Faithfully Devoted: Honoring Wishes Made Simple with Hospice

A quiet soul and one who always thought of everyone else first, Eva had a beautiful smile and a kind, gentle presence. She spent her 90-plus years on this earth dedicated to the service of others, providing compassionate care as … Continue reading

Jessica Shawn and daughter Amelia
In the Midst of a Life-Changing Event, Hospice Provides Extra Support to Patient

In late January 2015, on an otherwise normal day, Grace faced a life-changing incident: a heart attack. In an instant, Grace’s world turned upside-down, and she and her family were left with many uncertainties. “After the heart attack, things changed. … Continue reading

Area Man Flies Tandem with Hospice of the Red River Valley

Stewart ‘Stew’ Bass’ legacy has taken flight. As a WWII veteran pilot, he was personally involved in sinking the Yamoto, a large Japanese aircraft carrier, which marked a turning point in WWII and earned him a Navy Cross—one of the … Continue reading


Donor Stories

A Reason to Ride: Northern Minnesota Community Supports Hospice Through Annual Snowmobile Ride

Nestled among evergreens and winding roads in eastern Mahnomen County, Naytahwaush, Minn., is a quaint town whose residents hold Hospice of the Red River Valley especially close to heart. For the past 13 years, community members have combined their love … Continue reading

My hospice story: To do more than cure, treat and fix

My job and purpose as a physician shifted when I realized I needed to do more than cure, treat and fix. What I really needed to do was take care of the patient for the entire journey, and especially the end.

Tricia Langlois
Kindness and Compassion Personified: Why I Support Hospice

I wish you could have known my wife, Marcia. She was brilliant—a perfect wife and mother of four. We met as children when I pushed her in a snowbank. Years later, Marcia waited for me while I spent two years … Continue reading

Why We Support Hospice: Kirk’s Story

When Kirk, my husband of almost 43 years, was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in January 2012, we were stunned. Kirk hadn’t been in the hospital since he was a teenager and when we met the surgeon that evening in … Continue reading

Why We Support Hospice: Norene Bunker’s Story

Over the years, we have heard about hospice care, talked about it, and even supported it. But the concept of care really came to life when we witnessed, firsthand, the work of Hospice of the Red River Valley for our … Continue reading

Norene and Art Bunker
Why We Support Hospice: Becky Rantanen’s Story

My father had one request of his children before he passed away in 1996: “Take care of your mother.” Dad spent his final days in a hospital, uncomfortable and homesick. We did not know about Hospice at the time. We … Continue reading

Becky Rantanen and Gladys English
Gifted Gratitude: A Family Member’s Choice to Support Hospice

 “I knew if I needed them, all I had to do was pick up the phone and they’d be there. I could not have done this [cared for loved ones], twice, without Hospice.” Imagine, for a moment, facing the news … Continue reading

Mary Nelson
Leaving a Legacy

Charlotte continues to make deliberate plans in her retirement with the same forward-looking attitude that built her career.

Committing to a Cause

When David and Emily married, they launched an annual tradition of giving back in memory of their grandfathers, both of whom had been served by Hospice.

Charitable Gift Annuity is a “Win-Win” for Donor

Already a dedicated volunteer, Hal decided to take his support of Hospice one step further. A charitable gift annuity was the perfect option.


Volunteer Stories

Hospice Volunteer’s Experiences Encourage Open Communication About End-of-Life

If there’s one topic that’s generally avoided in casual conversation, it’s death and dying. The lack of conversation and planning before end-of-life can lead to confusion within families, missed opportunities to honor final wishes and a general sense of discomfort. … Continue reading

Steve Anglin
The Power of Friendship

The purpose of any hospice volunteer program is to provide companionship and support to patients. But in Hospice of the Red River Valley Volunteer Bethany Freeland’s experience, the program provides so much more than companionship. As a pre-med major and … Continue reading

Bethany Freeland
Northwood Resident Finds Value in Giving Back Through Hospice Volunteering

When you live in a smaller community, you inevitably become an essential fiber in the tapestry of the town. Community members grow up supporting one another and giving back whenever they can to lift up those in need, and who … Continue reading

Gilman Beck_1
The Small Town with a Big Heart for Hospice

Fullerton, N.D., is a small town. Population: 54. It’s a tightknit community whose residents have known each other for decades—growing up together, working side by side, looking out for one another. It’s a community that Ruby Gramlow knows well. Ruby … Continue reading

Celebrations Bears_Blog
Sowing the Seeds of Understanding: Area Farmer Finds Many Ways to Give Back to Hospice

For the better part of the past 60 years, Merlyn has divided his time between physical labor on the dairy farm, bouts of solitude while traveling up and down the corn rows in a tractor, and visits to his cows … Continue reading

Merlyn Olson
Harnessing Canine Kindness: Hospice Volunteer Forms Bonds Through Pet Therapy

Gracie joined the Tucker family as a fluffy, little lovable fur ball, one in which could be quite curious if not given proper training and a purposeful duty. So Deb Tucker, Gracie’s owner, set out to make her new Keeshond … Continue reading

Deb Tucker_quote
Shear Gratitude: Volunteer Delights Hospice Patients with Haircuts

Rebecca Wood, hair stylist and owner of a West Fargo salon and spa, has found the perfect way to blend her talents as a stylist with her love of volunteering. For the past year, Rebecca has visited the homes of … Continue reading

When Irish Eyes are Smiling: Hospice Volunteer Brightens Patients’ Days

Clarice Satrom has always been an outgoing and fun-loving person. Growing up in a tight-knit Irish family, she learned to appreciate music, dancing and laughter. She carried on her family’s traditions as she and her husband Lester raised two daughters … Continue reading

Clarice Satrom
Good Deeds & Fellowship: Hospice Volunteer Aims to Make a Difference

The year 2014 proved to be a year full of changes and personal transformation for Matt Mastrud, a Hospice of the Red River Valley volunteer. About seven months ago, Matt set two very deliberate goals: get into better shape by … Continue reading

Unexpected Connection: A First-time Volunteer’s Rewarding Experience with Hospice

When Julie Swiontek first considered volunteering for Hospice of the Red River Valley, she thought office work suited her best, and she never dreamed she would visit patients. “I thought, ‘I don’t know how to start conversations. What do I … Continue reading

Julie Swiontek