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By Darby Kendall

Behind every fundraiser for OHSU and Doernbecher Children’s Hospital is a personal story. Individuals, families and communities across the region raise money and support for OHSU, and they do so in creative, meaningful ways. Here are a few recent examples of people coming together in support of a patient or loved one, all united in the goal of advancing the missions across OHSU and Doernbecher.

Fastpitch Cares

The Fastpitch Cares team with Doernbecher staff in the therapy gym
The Fastpitch Cares team with Doernbecher staff in the therapy gym
Pitcher at the Fastpitch Cares tournament
Pitcher at the Fastpitch Cares tournament

Fastpitch Cares goes to bat for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital each year at their fundraising softball tournament. The nonprofit was formed in 2012 after two teenagers within the Western Oregon softball community were diagnosed with severe E. coli. In response, friends, family and coaches came together to help the hospital where they were treated. Since the first tournament 12 years ago, Fastpitch Cares has raised over $270,000 for Doernbecher. 

“In the softball community, there are kids that have come to Doernbecher and have gotten care at Doernbecher,” explained Sue Oran, president and founder of Fastpitch Cares. “When their parents are participating in the tournament, or they hear about what’s going on, they’re like, ‘My child receives such good care there. I want to be a part of that.’” 

Recently, funds raised from the tournament led to the donation of a new floor in the Doernbecher therapy gym, a space where children come for development and rehabilitation. 

“Helping the doctors and the staff and the people at Doernbecher do what they do to help others is really important to us,” Oran said. “Doernbecher has that reputation of giving the best care, and we just want to help them continue to be able to do that.” 

Faith Hope & Charity Vineyards

Crush Cancer finish line
Crush Cancer finish line
Race day views at Faith Hope & Charity Vineyards
Race day views at Faith Hope & Charity Vineyards

Every May, runners fill the fields at Faith Hope & Charity Vineyards, ready to race and raise money for the Knight Cancer Institute. Vineyard owners Roger and Cindy Grossmann started the Crush Cancer event in 2012 after they lost their daughter-in-law to cancer. After seeing so many members from their Central Oregon community go to the Knight Cancer Institute for treatment, they decided to make the institute the beneficiary of their annual 5k, 10k and half marathon.  

“The day is filled with a lot of joy and music, but also with compassion and camaraderie,” said Cindy. She explained that many attendees and volunteers for the race have been affected by cancer, creating a supportive atmosphere at the event. “It’s the sharing and the compassion, and really trying to help each other through this.” 

Funds are distributed to the Knight Cancer Institute in the form of gas cards, lodging vouchers, short-term medication assistance and more to Central Oregon families battling cancer. “We know personally what fighting cancer means not only for the patient, but for the family and for the finances,” Cindy said. “Every bit of what we give goes to families fighting that battle.” 

Daniel’s 2nd Chance

Daniel's 2nd Chance booth with quilts for sale
Daniel’s 2nd Chance market booth with handmade quilts
Susan Sherwood with donations from the nonprofit
Child life specialist Susan Sherwood with donations from the nonprofit

The mission of Daniel’s 2nd Chance is “to provide children something cancer can’t take away.” After Stephanie and Duncan Christiansen took their son, Daniel, to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital for cancer treatment, they saw what a difference that games, good food and financial assistance make to the families there.  

After Daniel passed in 2014, the Christiansens founded Daniel’s 2nd Chance with the goal of helping others at the hospital. “We created the organization in Daniel’s memory, so that other parents would have an easier time going through what we did,” Duncan said. 

As a teenager, Stephanie was also treated at Doernbecher for cancer. Now, she and Duncan coordinate with Susan Sherwood, a child life specialist who also worked at Doernbecher when Stephanie was in treatment, to donate needed items. 

To raise funds for Doernbecher, Stephanie makes baby blankets and quilts and sells them at farmers markets and events in Lincoln City. Local fire stations and volunteers also help with the nonprofit’s mission. Sherwood then lets the Christiansens know of minimally donated items, with needs varying yearly. Large LEGO sets, GrubHub gift cards, video games and toiletry kits make up just a few of the goods Daniel’s 2nd Chance has provided over the years. 

“It’s keeping my son’s memory alive and doing something I know that he would be proud of,” Duncan said. “I know he wouldn’t want us to sit there and think about him as being gone and being sad all the time and missing out, but actually going out and doing something in his memory and in his name.” 

Block 15 Brewing Co.

Board Shorts "Next Set" IPA
Board Shorts “Next Set” IPA
The Block 15 Brewing taproom in Corvallis
At the Block 15 Brewing taproom in Corvallis

Brewing beer in honor of a late friend has become an annual tradition for Block 15 Brewing. Seth Raleigh was a beloved bar manager of the Corvallis brewery, known for his easy-going personality and penchant for board shorts. To raise money for his brain tumor treatment, Block 15 Brewing created the Board Shorts IPA, brewed once a year and released in May for Brain Cancer Awareness Month. 

After Seth passed in 2020, Block 15 began donating funds raised from the beer to medical institutions, with last year’s proceeds benefiting the OHSU Brain Institute. “He was so special to us; we wanted to preserve his memory,” said Nick Arzner, Block 15 Brewing’s co-founder. 

The new iteration of the beer is Board Shorts “Next Set,” representing Seth’s bright spirit, with flavor notes like “rocking a pair of colorful board shorts and drinking a summer IPA that captures the taste of the season.” The team at Block 15 is proud to keep his memory alive with the brew and their donations to OHSU. 

KSig Charity Softball Tournament

Supporters at the softball tournament
Supporters and players at the softball tournament
Gregory Yandt playing ball
Gregory Yandt playing ball

When Tyler Yandt, a student at Davidson College in North Carolina, lost his father to Alzheimer’s in 2022, his fraternity rallied around him in support. That loyalty led to two softball tournaments held in Gregory Yandt’s honor, with proceeds benefiting the OHSU Brain Bank and Brain Institute. 

Gregory Yandt was an avid sportsman, playing softball and football, so creating a sporting event in his honor made sense to Tyler. His fraternity, Kappa Sigma, set up a GoFundMe page and hosted a softball tournament in Gregory’s memory, and they quickly passed their $100 goal, raising $5,000 in two weeks. 

After Gregory passed, his brain was donated to the OHSU Brain Institute, and Tyler decided to follow suit with the softball tournament. “I saw the work that OHSU is doing, and it seemed like the perfect place to [donate],” Tyler said. 

He credits his brothers at KSig for their unwavering support in fundraising for an institution that’s over 2,500 miles from where they go to school. “The people here are some of the best people I’ve ever met,” Tyler reflected. “They never met my dad, but they came out and supported me and showed me that love.” 

Do you have an idea for a fundraiser or creative way to donate to OHSU?

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