Ava’s House celebrates 5th anniversary

Hospice home is an enduring reminder of the power of giving

Since it opened five years ago, the Ava’s House hospice home has brought the gifts of compassionate care and meaningful time to more than 1,000 patients and their loved ones through the generosity of donors.

Philanthropy supported the construction of the facility, which opened on October 5, 2017, and continues to fuel its mission…a mission of life and filling each day with joy, comfort and peace.


About Ava’s House 

Ava’s House, an acute-level, inpatient hospice facility in Sioux Falls, provides 24-hour nursing care to patients of all ages in a warm, homelike environment.

The Ava’s House team ensures patients and families have a comforting place to turn when symptoms and pain are beyond the scope of care provided in the hospital, long-term care facilities or in-home settings.

Honoring its namesake, Ava, who passed away at 4 years old after a courageous battle against cancer, Ava’s House is also one of only a handful of facilities in the nation to offer inpatient pediatric hospice care.


Reflections and words of gratitude

“It is a privilege and also very humbling to be able to care for a patient at this time of their life—a time of great need and sometimes uncertainty. We are very fortunate to have such a dedicated team who are called to provide this level of care. Ava’s House is like family and I believe that our patients are supported by a top-notch staff.”

—Dr. Shannon Peters, palliative care specialist


“We’ve been able to make some special memories with our patients including spa time, pet therapy, musical performances, veteran honoring, church services, too many sweet treats to count, and a variety of other special projects.”

—Desirae Toomey, hospice administrator


“I have never felt more care and love than at Ava’s House. My entire family felt so connected to the nurses there. I am grateful for this place, and that my father felt so loved and cared for in the last days of his life.”

Emma Germaine Crowe (Sitting Crow), daughter of Ava’s House patient Elijah Sitting Crow


“Having a loved one in hospice has to be one of the toughest things a family can go through. Choosing Ava’s House was the best possible thing we could have done for our family. The facility and caregivers made an unbearable situation bearable, a potentially undignified end-of-life scenario dignified and a likely uncomfortable experience comfortable.”

Mike Daly, son-in-law of Ava’s House patient Ken Sorlie


“I don’t think many people realize how special Ava’s House is. Right here in Sioux Falls, we have a facility that not only cares for adults but is only matched in its ability to provide pediatric hospice care by a few other places in the nation! We have access to a beautiful, highly functional, amazingly staffed ‘home away from home.’”

—Karen Asfeldt, Ava’s House donor, volunteer and daughter of patient Norris Meland


Ava’s story and the power of giving


Ava spent most of her young life courageously fighting stage 4 neuroblastoma, a rare form of childhood cancer. She was diagnosed at 18 months old and spent more than three years in and out of clinics across the country.

Eventually, as Ava’s fragile body began to shut down, her family brought her to a pediatric hospice facility near their home in Arizona. The staff at the in-patient child-focused hospice facility embraced the 4-year-old and her family during her final days.

It was through the heartache of Ava’s passing that her great aunt and uncle, Joanne and Ron Moquist, found inspiration to make a significant lead gift to support the facility’s construction, inspiring the name Ava’s House.

Like the Moquists, hundreds of other community members saw the need for a multigenerational in-patient hospice facility that brought the acute level care available only in a hospital setting into a more homelike environment.

Together, they raised $10 million to support the construction of the hospice house. In October 2017, Ava’s House officially opened its doors. Continued generosity for the Ava’s House endowment fund helps sustain the exceptional, comprehensive patient care and services that make Ava’s House the special place it is, including spiritual care, Child Life, patient assistance and expert caregiving. To learn more about supporting the future of Ava’s House, please contact us.



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