Donors Help Provide the Very Best Care for Children Across the Bismarck Region

Ranchers Aaron and Sheyna Strommen have learned to enjoy the little things in life. The couple and their three children make a living raising cattle and horses on a ranch 37 miles southwest of Mandan, N.D.

“Aaron and I feel very blessed to be raising our children in the wide open spaces of rural North Dakota – where there’s room to explore, build forts and experience the beauty of nature,” Sheyna Strommen said.

The couple was elated when their third child, Clint, made his debut in June 2011. The Strommens and their two other children, 6-year-old Cassidy and 5-year-old Cooper, waited patiently for Clint to come home from the hospital, but unexpected health complications and an unknown diagnosis kept him under constant medical watch until he was 4 weeks old.

Minutes after birth, Sanford nurses noticed that Clint made an uncommon “gurgling” sound and had difficulty breathing. The nurses whisked him away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where he stayed for the next week under the care of Sanford Neonatologist Rafael Ocejo, MD, and Pediatrician Michelle Seibel, MD.

“Six days after Clint was born, Dr. Ocejo told us he thought Clint had a rare muscle disorder, a form of muscular dystrophy, and that we needed to go to another hospital for additional testing,” Sheyna said.

Three months later, specialists confirmed Dr. Ocejo’s diagnosis for Clint: merosin-deficient congenital muscular dystrophy (CMD). Although little things like waving his arms are more difficult for Clint than with other kids, joyous moments are intertwined with his ongoing battle with CMD.

“We were overjoyed the first time we saw our toddler operate a powered wheelchair or when a swallow study proved to everyone that Clint was perfectly capable of chewing and swallowing food,” Sheyna said.

For nearly two years, Clint has met with physical, occupational and speech therapists and continues to see Dr. Ocejo at Sanford Bismarck to improve his health, mobility and development. As a toddler, Clint can now feed himself, sit independently and talk continuously – accomplishments the Strommens credit to the physicians, nurses and specialists at Sanford Health.

“The doctors had the perceptiveness to pick up on Clint’s signs of distress, understand the complexities of his condition and confidence to refer us to specialists,” Aaron said.

Donors to Sanford Children’s help provide the very best education, resources and programming, purchase state-of-the-art equipment, and provide advanced training for medical staff, ensuring the best care is available close to home for children across the region.

To support the Sanford Children’s Center of Excellence in Bismarck, visit or call (701) 323-8450.

Posted Date: August 2013

Donors Help Provide the Very Best Care for Children Across the Bismarck Region

Ranchers Aaron and Sheyna Strommen and their family of Bismarck have learned to enjoy the little things in life after the birth of their youngest son, Clint.