Mike Neff, director of orthopedics and sports medicine at Sanford Bismarck, gives back as a generous volunteer.

Why I give: Mike Neff

January 29, 2020

For 39 years, Mike Neff has fulfilled his passion for helping people at Sanford Health, not only through his work but by giving back.

Neff first worked for what was then Bismarck Hospital while in college and later joined the team in 1981 as a physical therapist. He has served in several roles during his tenure at Sanford and helped establish the sports medicine program in the Bismarck region. Today, he is the director of orthopedics and sports medicine.

“I love working at Sanford because of the energy and direction from our senior leadership,” he said. “I also feel extremely blessed to be working with such great people.”

Neff recently shared, in his own words, how he began supporting the Foundation through the Great American Bike Race, an annual event that raises funds to support children and young adults living with cerebral palsy and related conditions.


How did you get involved with the Great American Bike Race (GABR)?

I was in the right place at the right time. In 1997, Dr. Kevin Murphy brought the idea of a bike race to Bismarck. Butch Keller, my department director at the time, got the ball rolling and enlisted my help.

The first event was at Northbrook Mall. We started with 10 bikes that we put on trainers. As it grew, we moved GABR to Gateway Mall, the Women’s Health Center, Century High School and now Legacy High School.

What has inspired you to donate your time year after year to this cause?

The kids! It not only helps them financially, but it gives them the feeling that they are not alone in their journey. People do care.

How does it make you feel to be a part of something bigger than yourself as a volunteer?

It is very rewarding to be involved with GABR. People put their hearts and souls into this event to make families’ and patients’ lives better. I was also on the GABR disbursement committee for several years and this was an eye opener to the needs of these families.

What would you tell new Sanford employees to encourage them to join you and give back as a volunteer or donor?

We work in the health field, so we have a calling to help those in need. I encourage employees to give their time and resources to something they believe in. Not only can you make an impact on people’s lives, but it’s personally rewarding as well.

What kind of message do you think it sends to our patients and our community to know that hundreds of employees, like you, dedicate your time to events like GABR?

That we care and we are truly dedicated to the work of health and healing.


Join the movement!

Registration is now open for the 24th annual GABR on April 25. Visit gabr.sanfordhealth.org to learn more about this event, volunteer or reserve a bike for your team.

If you’re a Sanford Health employee, you can support the area of health care you’re most passionate about by visiting sanfordhealthfoundation.org/giveback. You’ll find information about the Sanford Health Foundation and can arrange a gift through payroll deduction.