Ava’s House celebrates grand opening

October 23, 2017

On Oct. 5, Ava’s House by Sanford officially opened its doors — a milestone made possible by our many donors who contributed generously to the $10 million construction phase of the Gift of Time campaign.

The special day was filled with events including the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting and a celebration for the campaign’s most generous contributors. At the donor event, Dr. Larry Fenton, a Sanford physician who has 10 years of experience working with pediatric palliative care, shared his vision for the new in-patient multigenerational hospice facility.

Dr. Fenton, a Sanford palliative care physician, addresses donors at a celebration event. 

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

Among the attendees was the family of Ava Holder, the namesake of Ava’s House who passed away at 4 years old after a courageous battle against cancer.

Ava’s extended family came from far and wide to see the completed facility for the first time.

The events marked an emotional day for everyone in attendance but especially for those who had the honor to know Ava during her short time on earth.

The completion of Ava’s House not only marks a significant accomplishment for our community, but as one of only four in-patient pediatric hospice facilities in the country, also serves as a symbol of Ava’s enduring legacy.

A memorial stone with a message written by Ava’s mother, Chrisie Funari.

Ava’s House admitted the first patients on Oct. 16, and as Dr. Fenton and so many others envisioned, has already proved to be a place of healing for both the mind and spirit.

Now that this state-of-the-art hospice facility is complete, we have the chance to shape its legacy and extend the gifts of time, compassion and love to generations of patients and families.

Your gift today will support a $5 million endowment to 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. 

Support the Gift of Time campaign!


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