Essentia Health-St. Mary's Detroit Lakes Patient Gives Back

Published on August 03, 2023

“From the moment I arrived, someone was there to take care of me,” Karen said.

Older couple in red tops smiling for photo

High-Quality Health Care Close to Home

Karen Evans has lived in Detroit Lakes for nearly 45 years. She’d often drive by Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Detroit Lakes and think, “It’s wonderful to have such a nice hospital in our community—I hope I never need to use it.”

Unfortunately, in April 2022, Karen had her first experience at the hospital after falling in the middle of the night.

“I walked right into my shower wall and bounced back, falling down and hitting my vanity on the way. I knew something was wrong,” Karen said.

Karen was able to call 911 and get to the front door to wait for the ambulance. She was taken to the hospital and placed in a patient room.

“From the moment I arrived, someone was there to take care of me,” Karen said.

Karen quickly learned she’d need a hip repair. She spent the next five days in the hospital undergoing the procedure and recovering. It was during this time she was able to appreciate firsthand the benefits of having access to high-quality health care close to home.

“It was truly a great experience. With the hospital being so nearby, my neighbors came to see me right away. Then my children showed up and there was a flurry of people coming in and out, all taking care of me,” Karen said. “I’m 81 years old. I needed some extra attention and help throughout the days and nights. Everyone was so happy and friendly. From the nurses to the woman who cleaned my room every day—they were so gracious. And the food was excellent, too!”

After she was discharged, Karen returned home to begin therapy. She struggled the first week and wondered if she could overcome the impact of her fall. But Karen’s daughter encouraged her to find the strength to complete the sessions so she could continue living the life she loves.

“I had three in-home nurses and therapists. Not only did we stretch and do strength exercises, but the occupational therapist helped me with practical day-to-day movements and chores like loading the dishwasher, standing and getting into bed. They were all amazing,” Karen reflected.

“I wanted to say ‘thank you’ a million different ways.”

Karen was overcome with gratitude for the exceptional care she received at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Detroit Lakes. She wanted to give back and support other patients, as well as the caregivers who showed her so much compassion and love. She met with her financial advisor and learned she could designate her retirement plan’s required minimum distribution (RMD) to the Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Foundation.

“I wanted to say ‘thank you’ a million different ways. I decided to do it through a donation,” Karen shared. “I like to donate locally and see the impact I can make in our community, and I knew the hospital could use the support. My RMD was a great opportunity for me to give, and I made sure my donation was unrestricted so the Foundation and hospital could put it toward their greatest needs.”

These days, Karen lives life to the fullest and finds support in her family, God and her friends. She volunteers at the crisis center in Detroit Lakes, quilts every Tuesday, puts together puzzles, reads and tends to her garden so she can make homemade BLTs with fresh grown tomatoes and cucumbers.

“I love my life! I’ve got places to go, things to do and people to see,” Karen said. “I’m ahead of the game and every morning when I wake up, I say, ‘Lord, what are we getting into today?’”

How to Make an Impact

To learn more about the Foundation or planned gifts like the one Karen made, please contact Cara Frank, Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Foundation Director of Development, at [email protected] or (218) 847-0867.



How to Make an Online Donation

Visit our Give a Gift page and select from our list of Essentia Health campaigns and local foundations.

More Opportunities to Give

Learn about other organizations that support care at Essentia Health:


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