Family Celebrates Daughter's Memory with Gift

Sonali Seth cared deeply about making a difference in people’s lives, even at an early age. As a 4-year-old she befriended someone with Down Syndrome. In junior high, she volunteered with the Special Olympics and later mentored younger girls while attending all-girls summer camps in Minnesota.

After earning undergraduate degrees in neuroscience and chemistry, and a Master’s Degree in Public Health, she entered medical school with the goal of helping others heal.

“She would have been a great doctor,” said her mother, Aruna Seth.

But during her third year of medical school, she suffered a traumatic seizure and was diagnosed with brain cancer. Her symptoms became so severe in the last stage of her life that she was unable to communicate, prompting her parents, Aruna and Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Vinod Seth, to seek help from Tracey Lockrem, a Sanford Speech Pathologist.

Lockrem helped the Seths to find and purchase a Tobii Eye Tracking System and then helped train Sonali how to use it. The system’s state-of-the art technology allowed Sonali to communicate with her eyes. Her first words were, “I love you, Dad.”

Sonali lost her fight with cancer in February 2012 at just 33 years old.

To honor their daughter’s memory and her passion for helping others, the Seths donated the eye tracking system to Sanford Bismarck so other families can communicate in such difficult times.

“This technology and equipment will assist us greatly in assessing patients with communication difficulties as a result of ALS, Guillain Barre Syndrome, head injury or brain cancer,” Lockremsaid. “This is a very big deal for our patients and our department.”

Sonali truly wanted to help others heal and, in her memory, with her spirit living through her parents’ generosity, others will be given the opportunity to communicate with loved ones.

Many donors choose to honor the memory of loved ones or special friends by providing a meaningful tribute or gift through the Sanford Health Foundation to make a difference in others’ lives.

For more information about giving in honor or memory of a loved one, visit or call the Sanford Health Foundation at (701) 323-8450.

Photo: From left is Dr. Vinod and Aruna Seth, Sonali’s parents, and Dr. Craig Lambrecht, Sanford Bismarck president.

Posted Date: March 2014

Family Celebrates Daughter's Memory with Gift

Dr. Vinod and Aruna Seth, with the help of Tracey Lockrem, Sanford speech pathologist, donated a Tobii Eye.