Ava’s House celebrates first anniversary

September 24, 2018

A year ago this October, Ava’s House by Sanford opened its doors for the first time — a milestone made possible by our many donors who contributed generously to the $10 million construction phase of the Gift of Time hospice campaign.

Already it has touched the lives of more than 180 patients and their families. It is the warm, welcoming space that donors and staff imagined —  a home for intimate moments between loved ones and quiet contemplation, as well as joyful family gatherings and celebrations.

Take a moment to remember some of the most inspiring stories from the last year:


“Ava’s House is not a place we should think of as where people go to die. It will be a place where people come to live with as much peace, joy and comfort as possible.”

-Dr. Larry Fenton, a Sanford palliative care physician, speaking about the mission of Ava’s House at its grand opening celebration last year.

Ava’s House celebrates grand opening (October 2017)


“Our family had never experienced more compassionate, professional and personal care as was given to Ken by every member of the staff. They treated him like he was their own father or grandfather.”

– Mike Daly, whose father-in-law, Ken Sorlie, was among the first patients to benefit from Ava’s House. Sorlie passed away in December, surrounded by his family — just as he had wished.

Ava’s House brings comfort, dignity to patients (February 2018)


“Many of our volunteers mention their lives have been changed for the better. The families and patients share their fears, concerns, joys, hope and sorrow; our volunteers perceive this as an enormous gift of incomprehensible value. They receive more than they give.”

-Pam Merchant, Sanford Hospice volunteer coordinator, speaking about the gift of volunteering. Merchant had just received a special visit from Joanne Moquist, the lead benefactor of Ava’s House and great-aunt to Ava, the facility’s namesake, as well as Chrisie Funari, Ava’s mom, and a group of special volunteers.

Volunteers make Ava’s House a home (May 2018)


“We just immediately felt like it was going to feel better and be more comfortable for all of us. He felt that it was the best place for him to be.”

-Jenna Rist, who is grateful for the time her father, John, and family spent at Ava’s House together. John, a former teacher, filled his final days greeting students, watching his young grandchildren run and play, and enjoying time with loved ones.

Family makes new memories at Ava’s House (July 2018)


“I couldn’t leave without doing my part. I was moved to see how many people in this community stepped up to make Ava’s House possible. I want to be a part of this and help make sure it continues to bless lives for many years to come.”

-Denny Sanford, after an impromptu visit to Ava’s House that inspired a $1 million gift to support its endowment.

Special visitor surprises Ava’s House (August 2018)


Looking to the future

An outpouring of community support helped raise $10 million to construct Ava’s House, but now its future depends on you.

Your gift today will support a $5 million endowment to help sustain expert caregiving and services such as spiritual care, Child Life and patient assistance at Ava’s House.

To help us reach our endowment goal and extend the gifts of time, compassion and love to generations of patients and families, please contact one of our gift officers:


Learn more about the Gift of Time campaign.