Master Gardeners Plant a Lifetime Gift for Cancer Care: Dan and Lynn Adams

When Dan Adams retired after 30 years in electric utilities, he and his wife Lynn took a Master Gardeners class on a whim. They discovered their shared love for the hobby, and Lynn even made a late-life career out of it at the county extension office for horticulture. The Adamses quickly became known in their small town for their beautiful yard and volunteer gardening work. The couple were never too busy to share their passion, whether organizing community garden tours or coordinating 800-flower Memorial Day plantings.

In fact, Dan and Lynn were working in the yard on a 90-degree summer day when Dan noticed he didn’t feel quite right.

He survived a heart attack that day—but Dan now recalls that event as the beginning of a whirlwind nine months. Soon after, his mother passed away. Then they discovered that Lynn had stage IV brain cancer.

Remarkably, even as life was turned upside down by brain surgery and intensive cancer treatments, Lynn never complained about her symptoms or side effects. Instead, she and Dan began discussing how to make purpose from their pain. Together, they decided to make a lifetime gift to cancer care through their will.

Dan and Lynn Adams standing in front of a flower garden with an arborThey were inspired by their deep appreciation for their team of physicians, nurses, and oncology staff. In the weeks following Lynn’s cancer diagnosis, the Adamses were especially grateful to have experts so close to home—including Lynn’s neurosurgeon Dino Terzic, MD; her oncologists, Mihailo Lawlich, MD and John Boyle, MD; and the whole staff at Northwest Wisconsin Cancer Center in Ashland. “They deal with everyone so professionally and compassionately. As soon as we met the phenomenal team, my wife and I started talking about how we could thank them,” Dan shared.

Dan describes Lynn as a “passionate woman who did everything to the nth degree.” She passed away after a brief battle with cancer—but Lynn’s impact lives on. Their legacy gift is just one example of her generous spirit.

Ultimately, the couple decided that the most meaningful way to invest their nest egg was to donate half of their entire estate to Northwest Wisconsin Cancer Center through Essentia Health Foundation to help future families in their journey with cancer. As Dan explained, “We wanted to help move cancer care closer to a cure, and I hope my little bit helps.”

Ever the Master Gardeners, Dan and Lynn have planted a beautiful gift: leaving a legacy that will grow and impact cancer care well into the future. This planned gift is such a fitting remembrance of Lynn’s life, and a perfect illustration that the seeds we hold today can be planted for a more beautiful tomorrow.

To discuss your own legacy and learn about planned gift options, please contact:
Grant Hauschild, Executive Director of Essentia Health Foundation-East, at [email protected] or (218) 786-5049
Sue Omdalen, Executive Director of Essentia Health Foundation-West, at [email protected] or (701) 364-7784.

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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