Who is your Guardian Angel?



Maureen Hedeen and her family spent 10 days at Sanford Health USD Medical Center after her 22-year-old son, Neil, suffered a traumatic brain injury worrying about long-term effects and how he would adapt to them.

“When you are up there in the hospital, you sit around and think a lot,” she said. The exceptional medical care allowed her son to leave the hospital and continue treatment in therapy, partly because of two outstanding nurses – Jessica Fritz, RN in In-Patient Rehab, and Cleo Hilding, RN/BSN in Orthopedics/Neurology. Hedeen was so grateful for their compassion and rapport with her son she donated two gifts in their honor to the Guardian Angel program. Guardian Angel is a new program at the Sanford Health Foundation that allows patients and their families to say thank you to a Sanford doctor, nurse, staff member or volunteer who made a positive difference in their hospital experience.

Hilding cared for Neil while at the USD Medical Center. “Though small in stature, her heart and ability to work with her patients and their families is huge,” Hedeen said. “She just put me at ease. There was a peacefulness whenever she was there.”

Hilding said she understands the stress around a traumatic life-changing event. As a teenager, she battled a brain tumor twice. She became a nurse because she was inspired by her medical care and wants to share her story with others while making a difference in their lives. Hilding said she will wear the Guardian Angel pin proudly. “It’s a sign so that my patients know I am here for them,” she said.

Fritz worked with Neil in rehabilitation sessions. “She was the only one who could get him to do the things he was supposed to be doing in rehab,” Hedeen said. “Other nurses would say the same thing and he wouldn’t do it. She just connected with him as a person and as a patient.”

Fritz said she became a nurse to care for and help others, like the Hedeen family. “I was always cheerful and happy and trying to bring his spirits up,” she said.

Shelly Clauson, RN Clinical Manager, said Fritz is an excellent nurse and deserving of a Guardian Angel pin.

Gifts to the Guardian Angel program support the Unrestricted Fund and are used wherever the need is greatest throughout Sanford Health’s Sioux Falls region. To make a gift through the Guardian Angel program, visit foundation.sanfordhealth.org.

Posted Date: April 2014

Who is your Guardian Angel?

The Guardian Angel programs allows patients and their families to say thank you to a Sanford doctor, nurse, staff member or volunteer. Read about one family who donated two gifts.