Stephanie and Kirk Dean with their three children.

Roger Maris donor: ‘Now it’s my turn’

June 23, 2020

Kirk Dean believed in giving back.

Not only was he a business leader – having served as the regional president of Wells Fargo Banks of North Dakota and western Minnesota until his retirement in 2004 – Kirk was an avid volunteer and supporter of community organizations.

Kirk lost his battle to cancer in 2013, but his wife of 43 years, Stephanie Dean, has continued his legacy of giving back.

Stephanie, who herself is currently undergoing treatment for cancer, chose to support the Reimagine campaign for Sanford Roger Maris Cancer Center in honor of Kirk’s cancer and hospice journeys.

“Kirk always had a spirit of giving back, and he led a rich life filled with volunteerism and generosity,” Stephanie told us. “He had decided which charities would receive our financial gifts, and now it’s my turn.”

 

Care close to home

In January 2012, Kirk learned he had stage 4 cancer. Having been healthy most of his life, the diagnosis stunned Kirk and his family.

The next 15 months were a whirlwind with surgery and chemotherapy, but luckily, Kirk could receive treatment close to home at Roger Maris.

When Kirk was having his chemo treatments, we were able to stay in Fargo.,” Stephanie said. “So many patients need to travel, and we were fortunate to stay in Fargo and at home. Here we had the support of family and friends, and fantastic care from the staff of Roger Maris.”

At first, Kirk responded well to the treatment and was able to spend time with his three children and 10 grandchildren and even ride his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. After another surgery in 2013, Kirk’s health began to decline.

Kirk passed away in May 2013 at just 65 years old, but his legacy of supporting the community carries on.

 

A living legacy

Roger Maris was there for Kirk, and when Stephanie was diagnosed with cancer in January 2019, it was there for her too. Stephanie found familiar faces in the nurses and other staff who helped Kirk on his journey and were now caring for her.

Through a generous donation to the Reimagine campaign in Kirk’s memory, Stephanie gave back to so many of the services that impacted both her and Kirk, from cancer treatment to palliative care and hospice.

“Roger Maris Cancer Center and Sanford have played such an important role in our lives,” Stephanie said. “I wanted to give back so others can benefit from something that has been so important to us.”

Her giving has already made a difference for local families with the opening of the Sanford Fargo Hospice House, North Dakota’s first in-hospital hospice facility. Sanford now offers both in-home and inpatient hospice care.

To learn more about the Reimagine campaign and to show your support, visit sanfordhealthfoundation.org/reimagine.