Sanford Hospice Provides Gift of Time

May 5, 2017

We can never have enough time with our loved ones.

For Charles “Chuck” Tufty’s family, 74 years just wasn’t enough. Chuck, of Flandreau, S.D., lost his battle to pancreatic cancer in March 2016.

Chuck was born in 1941 at Sioux Valley Hospital, now Sanford Health. He returned to Sioux Falls to spend his final days at Sanford Hospice. The cottages in Sioux Falls became a sanctuary for Chuck and helped give his family more precious time with him.

Chuck met his wife, Karen at a young age. He was 7-years-old and she was 5. Their relationship began with Chuck throwing rotten plums at her, but grew into a lasting love and 52 years of marriage. The couple did everything together except the dishes, which Chuck tackled on his own every night.

Chuck was beloved by his family including his son, Dr. Geoff Tufty, a pediatric ophthalmology surgeon at Sanford Health. Geoff called his father his best friend, advisor, and role model. Chuck was there for his family whenever they needed. Performing best man at his son’s wedding.

“He was a good role model — ethical and honest,” Geoff said of his father. “He did everything by the book and never strayed and was even an honest car dealer. You don’t hear that much.”

Chuck was always involved in the communities he lived in, from South Sioux City, Neb., to Flandreau. He was a city council member and community volunteer.

Chuck was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer before Christmas 2015. The tumor was too close the portal vein making removal a death sentence. Chuck was losing strength quickly, meaning chemotherapy wasn’t a viable option.

“He could always carry on a conversation with anyone,” Geoff told us. “He could be in the middle of a corn field and have a conversation with a scarecrow, but started to shut down and stopped talking.”

After a few months in and out of the hospital and seeing Chuck’s health deteriorate, his family turned to the Sanford Hospice cottages.

“It was like a home away from home,” Geoff recalled. “They were all amazing, from the housekeeping staff to the nurses to the doctors. They told us not to worry about anything.”

With the caregivers at Sanford Hospice fulfilling Chuck’s medical needs, Geoff and his family could enjoy quality time, laughing at Chuck’s never-ending jokes.

“You can show up and just enjoy your loved one,” Geoff said. “The staff there truly cares about people, the patients, and their families. They made a bad situation pretty good.”

Geoff remembers freshly baked cookies, a comfortable bed for his family to stay close by and plenty of friendly faces. He saw his dad find peace.

The Comfort of Home

“Think about your loved one dying. What would you want them to have?” Geoff said. “Sanford Hospice provides the comforts of home, someone who can help with the heavy lifting and the time to enjoy your loved one.”

You can give more patients and families, like the Tuftys, the gift of compassion, comfort and time by supporting Sanford Hospice. Your gift of any amount will truly make a difference.