June 21, 2019
“Live, Love, Landon.”
This is the motto of the L3 Foundation, a nonprofit with strong connections to Sanford Health, devoted to honoring the legacy of Landon Ahrendt. For 21 months, Landon fought rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer that started as a bump on his right foot. In 2014, he passed away at just 10 years old.
Following Landon’s wishes, L3 works hand-in-hand with children to raise funds and awareness supporting kids and their families fighting childhood cancer and to advance immunotherapy research to find a cure.
One aspect of that mission is providing fun, accessible experiences where kids with cancer can escape the stress of treatment and just be kids. Landon’s father, Scott, remembers the joy of seeing Landon let loose at a summer camp near their Texas home designed just for kids facing cancer.
“I was fortunate to go to family camp with Landon right after he had finished radiation treatment on his foot,” Scott said. “It was so sore that he could not wear a shoe. Yet, while we were at camp, I watched him scale a climbing wall, then rappel down the other side with the hugest of smiles.
“Later that summer, he went to the full camp for a week. When we picked him up at the end of the week, all we heard was what an incredible time he had. He got to be a kid again, to run, to swim, to play soccer, to fish, to forget cancer even if only for a brief time.”
A gift to Camp Bring It On!
It was those memories that inspired the Ahrendt family, through the L3 Foundation, to support Sanford Children’s Camp Bring It On!, a residential camp for pediatric cancer patients and survivors in South Dakota. For a week every summer, around 60 campers, ages 7 through 17, enjoy classic activities like tubing and archery while under the care of Sanford Children’s staff.
L3 has pledged $12,000 a year to Camp Bring It On!, an amount that will cover costs for 10 campers every summer.
The Sanford connection
While L3 is based in Texas, it has strong connections to Sanford Health through Scott’s brother, Jason Ahrendt. Jason is a member of the Sanford Health Foundation’s Sioux Falls board of directors and a long-time supporter through his State Farm Insurance Agency.
In 2017, Jason and his wife, Heather, also gave to Ava’s House to sponsor the meditative walking path, “Landon’s Lane,” commemorating Landon’s life.
“I love the fact that Jason helps keep Landon’s legacy alive and created this great relationship between L3 and Sanford Health,” Scott said. “It is important to us to be able to help back home in South Dakota, so when Jason told me about Camp Bring It On!, I knew we needed to get involved and help make sure every kid could experience what Landon did. Camps like this are critical to their emotional well-being.”
“They have enough to deal with,” Scott said. “Camp Bring It On! just lets them be a kid.”
More about Camp Bring It On!
Thanks to the generosity of Sanford Children’s donors, Camp Bring It On! is free for each child, a blessing to families who are often financially burdened with medical bills. The camp’s goal is to give pediatric cancer patients and survivors a sense of normalcy and camaraderie.
Campers participate in an array of activities including swimming, arts and crafts, tubing, archery and horseback riding, all while under the supervision of Sanford Children’s medical experts. These simple pleasures are easy to take for granted, but for kids at Camp Bring It On!, they mean everything.
In 2018, gifts helped…
- 61 campers, ages 7 to 17, attend the region’s only residential camp for pediatric cancer patients and survivors at no cost to their families.
- 8 counselors,1 program director, 2 assistant program directors, 4 program specialists and 1 camp coordinator give kids the full camp experience while encouraging camaraderie and providing emotional support.
- 2 medical providers, 1 Child Life Specialists and 5 oncology nurses provide expert medical supervision 24 hours a day during camp.
- Provide for all programming needs, including T-shirts, conquering stick beads and leather, food, medals for Olympics, inflatable tubes, gas for boats that pull tubes, arrows for archery, O2 tanks for paintballs and so much more.
Your support today will help local children create memories to last a lifetime.