Cara DeCourcey, a communications manager at Sanford Health, gives to honor the memory of her father, Clayton Bierwagen.

Father’s memory inspires Sanford employee’s generosity

May 12, 2021

Cara DeCourcey’s journey at Sanford Health started when she was just 10 years old. Now a communications manager with Sanford’s marketing team, Cara helps employees receive the news and updates they need.

“Sanford has been a part of my life since I was a young girl,” Cara told us. “My dad was diagnosed with congestive heart failure when he was only 32. The care and healing his doctors and nurses provided was a big reason why I wanted to work here.”

Cara’s dad, Clayton Bierwagen, relied on Sanford’s expert heart care for more than 20 years. After many tests, stents, two open heart surgeries and rehabilitation, Clayton was put on a heart transplant list.

Sanford helped give him time to see his daughter grow up and start a family of her own. She credits the years she had with her father to his care at Sanford.

“He got to see me graduate, get married, meet his grandchildren and make many lasting memories,” Cara said. “I’m forever grateful to this amazing place and each caregiver who makes it amazing.”

Clayton never received his heart transplant and passed away earlier this year. His passing inspired Cara to give back in his memory. She’s now honoring her dad’s care with a gift through the Sanford Health Foundation with each paycheck.

“I felt really compelled to give a little bit back to the organization that gave my family so much,” Cara said. “Sanford is one of those organizations in our community that gives so much to families like mine. I think it’s important to give back to the areas that really improve the lives of our loved ones.

“Knowing I’m honoring his memory in this way would make him smile.”


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“It’s so easy to give,” Cara said. “When I saw how easy it was, I thought ‘Why wouldn’t I contribute?’ And you can choose the area you want to support.”

If you are a Sanford employee, consider signing up to give automatically through your paycheck.