What Do We Do?

Ian’s Thumbs Up FUNd is dedicated to brightening a child’s day with something fun and providing financial assistance to families at Avera Children’s Hospital in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.


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One night in 2009 there was a disturbance in the force. Six-year-old Ian woke up around 4:30am screaming of a headache and within a half hour, he became unresponsive.

His parents rushed him to the ER and within 30 minutes he was in surgery. Seven hours later, the neurosurgeon, Dr. Abbassi, removed a 5cm tumor from the back of Ian’s head.

The day after surgery, the hospital ran tests and discovered that Ian had an abnormal tumor.

By the end of his first treatment, Ian had gone through 32 radiation sessions and then it was on to a full year for chemotherapy. All that time, Ian’s parents used his love of Star Wars to keep him strong. Using references from the galaxy far far away to help explain to him what was happening.

Fast forward 4 years, 31 radiation treatments, three types of cancer, and 42 months of no evidence of disease between the first and second cancer and 11 months between the second and third cancer, and it all ended on December 21st, 2015…cancer had won.

A mother and father without their son.

A sister without her best friend.

And a world with one less light shining bright within it.



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Ready to make a donation?!

Ian’s Thumbs Up FUNd is currently accepting monetary donations to help families in need and brighten the day of a child suffering. All donations can be sent to:

Ian’s Thumbs Up FUNd
Avera McKennan Foundation
1325 S. Cliff Avenue, Suite 205
P.O. Box 5045
Sioux Falls, SD 57117-5045

For inquiries about physical item donations to brighten a child’s day,

Ians Thumbs Up First Donation