Bringing Child Life to Sanford Bismarck

August 27, 2018

When a Child Life Specialist walks into the room, an IV becomes the world’s tiniest straw and a syringe transforms into a paintbrush.

They blow bubbles in exam rooms and tell imaginative stories during MRIs. They read books to help kids understand what’s wrong and play familiar games to make them feel at ease. Most of all they help children and their families cope with the emotional stress and uncertainty of illness.

Hearing about Child Life services, Irene Wentz and her fellow Sanford Health Auxiliary members couldn’t imagine a more worthy cause to support.

The auxiliary, a long-time friend and generous supporter of the Sanford Health Foundation, made the first major gift to support the Above and Beyond campaign. The goal of the fundraising effort is to launch the region’s first Child Life program at Sanford Bismarck.

“We hope to provide joy and laughter for children and families in crisis,” said Wentz, the auxiliary chair. “We love working for this cause, and we are so proud of the fact that we were the first to donate to Above and Beyond.”


Raising the standard of care

At Sanford Children’s in Bismarck, providing consistent, expert care for children from infancy through age 18 is the top priority. Establishing a Child Life program will take pediatric care to a level above and beyond for kids in our region.

Child Life Specialists are trained child development professionals who work behind the scenes and in tandem with doctors and nurses to ensure each child has the best experience possible. With well-established programs at Sanford Health in Fargo and Sioux Falls, Child Life services have helped improve pediatric outcomes, the quality of care and the overall patient and family experience.

Once established at Sanford Bismarck, Child Life will go anywhere a child is in need in the hospital and clinics. Best of all, families never see a bill for Child Life services.


Thank you to these generous supporters

Following in the Sanford Health Auxiliary’s footsteps, these generous donors have made substantial commitments to the Above and Beyond campaign: 

  • Steve and Carla Pine and Broadway Centre
  • Dr. Anthony and Janet Tello
  • Dr. Christina Tello Skjerseth and Brent Skjerseth
  • Dr. Ron and Joyce Tello
  • Bill and Bonnie Daniel
  • Dr. Chris and Janel Meeker
  • J2 Studio Architecture + Design PC
  • Dr. Todd and Lila Twogood
  • Associated Land Development LLLP
  • First International Bank & Trust
  • Dr. Missy and Nathan Seibel
  • Jan and Mark Kamphuis
  • Dr. Christina and Matthias daSilva
  • Tim and Rachel Flagstad
  • Trisha and Greg Meidinger
  • Kristi Schmidt
  • Sara and Eric Haugen


Learn more about the Above and Beyond campaign here.