The grateful family of Denis Horsager returned to Sanford Fargo to honor their caregivers as Guardian Angels in person.

Siblings honor staff who comforted father in final days

June 29, 2021

“We all believe this level of care allowed him the peace and comfort he needed at the end of his life to pass away on his own terms,” said the family of Denis Horsager, who honored his caregivers as Guardian Angels.


Throughout his eight-month battle against cancer, Denis Horsager and his family were touched by the compassion and everyday kindness of his caregivers at Sanford Fargo. Even in his final days, the staff went above and beyond to help grant his last wishes and surround him in comfort.

After Denis passed away in January, all eleven of his children and stepchildren came together to let everyone know just how much that care had meant to Denis and to the many people who loved him.


A gift to the Guardian Angels at 7 South

At the suggestion of Denis’ stepdaughter, Rhonda Stephenson, the siblings made a Guardian Angel gift through the Foundation in celebration of two of Denis’ nurses and everyone on the 7 South Unit at Sanford Fargo, where Denis had received care. As a longtime nurse at Sanford, Rhonda knows how meaningful this honor is to caregivers.

“I have been involved in celebrating many coworkers and units receiving a recognition,” Rhonda said. “After I described this program, our family thought this would be a wonderful way to honor the nurses and staff.”

The family returned to Sanford this spring to present their gift, which will support both cancer research and the Friends of the Family Fund at Sanford Roger Maris Cancer Center.

Both priorities, they believe, represent Denis and how he lived his life.

“As a science teacher, he wanted to donate his body to research so someone could help find a treatment for the type of cancer he had,” Rhonda said. “With COVID, that was not possible, so the cancer research fund was a great way to honor this wish for him.”

Through the Friends of the Family Fund, which supports cancer patients and families with treatment-related travel, lodging and more, the family honors Denis’ kind heart.

“He would give his last penny to someone who ‘needed it more than him,’” Rhonda said. “This was a great fund to honor his life and memory of giving to others.”


Who is your Guardian Angel?

Were you touched by the care you received at Sanford Health? Was there a doctor, nurse or team that went above and beyond for you or a loved one?

Visit sanfordhealthfoundation.org/guardianangel to make a gift of gratitude in their honor and share a few words of thanks. Your Guardian Angel will be celebrated at a special recognition ceremony, and 100% of your gift will support services for future patients.

Celebrate your Guardian Angel today!