Locals stand on the national stage

March 20, 2018

Two longtime and dedicated supporters of Sanford Children’s Miracle Network were honored recently at the national Children’s Hospitals Week conference in Florida.

Those in attendance included (and pictured above from left) Megan Kjose, Sanford Health Foundation development officer; Chris Carter, KTWB radio DJ in Sioux Falls, S.D.; DeLon Mork, owner of Dairy Queen in Madison, S.D.; Erin Sanderson, Sanford Health Foundation development manager; and Bethany Olson; Sanford Health Foundation development officer.

Among the dozen awards presented, Mork earned the Local Corporate Person of the Year and Carter received the English Radio Person of the Year.

Mork has inspired his DQ staff to sell hundreds of thousands of Blizzards® for Miracle Treat Day since 2006. Bethany Olson said it’s rare to find someone as passionate about Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals as Mork is.

“He is someone who will always be there for someone who needs him and expect nothing in return,” she said.

Mork’s passion for Miracle Treat Day stems from his late father’s battle with cancer.

“During his year-and-a-half-long battle with cancer, he watched many families struggle and go through emotional and financial stress,” Mork said. “He thought, ‘I’ve had a good long life. It isn’t fair that kids have to go through this. They haven’t even lived yet.’ That was the toughest thing for him.”

Year after year, Madison Dairy Queen sells more Blizzards than any other store in the country. In 2017, their team of employees and volunteers made and sold more than 40,000 Blizzards.

“Our goal is to do the very best we can,” Mork said. “Sanford Children’s Miracle Network is a tremendous charity, and our community just wants to support it.”

For 12 years, Carter has interviewed families and shared patient stories during the annual Children’s Miracle Network Radiothon for Kids.

“He’s special to us for so many reasons, but what’s even more special are the bonds he forms with each Miracle family that crosses his path,” said Erin Sanderson.

Carter thanked his family, fellow staff at KTWB and especially Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals media team.

“They’ve taught me that radio is something more and can be something more,” explained Carter.

He said the Children’s Miracle Network and Sanford Children’s Hospital teams in Sioux Falls showed him how a hospital is really like a family.

“The CMN kids and their families have shown me that at least once a year I can be something more,” Carter said.

Sanderson said both Mork and Carter have the ability to bring hope to those in despair and strength to those feeling weak.

“Thank you for the love and inspiration you’ve brought to so many of us over the years and for the dedication you continue to bring,” Sanderson said.