Barb Togstad has ambitious goals – to raise $100,000 to celebrate her late mother’s 100th birthday.
That’s double what she’d planned, and she’s already halfway there.
On July 20, 2022, Togstad and her husband, Curt, hit the $50,000 mark.
Jamestown Regional Medical Center named Barb and her husband, Curt, the Philanthropists of the Year at the annual Pillars of Giving event on Thursday, Sept. 1. Pillars of Giving recognizes individuals and businesses who contribute their time, talents and treasure to JRMC.
“Because of this generosity, JRMC can continue to meet the medical needs of our region,” said Foundation Director Lisa Jackson. “This hospital doesn’t happen by accident. During and after the pandemic, hospitals like ours have reduced services and even closed. The support of the community, especially people like the Togstads, helps us to not only keep the doors open, but to thrive.”
The Togstads created the Continue Aiding Recipients Affected by Cancer Evermore (C.A.R.E.) Endowment Fund with JRMC Foundation in 2016. Togstad’s C.A.R.E. Fund purchases gas and grocery cards for cancer patients. The fund’s goal is to support those individuals emotionally and financially through their cancer journey.
The couple created the fund in memory of Barb’s parents (Donald A. and Mildred E. Olson). Donald and Mildred died in July and September of 1980, respectively – both from cancer. At their deaths, Donald was 56 and Mildred, 54. Barb was only 27 years old, and it impacted her deeply.
Achieving $50,000 on July 20 meant extra for Barb. The date would have been her mother’s 96th birthday. In addition, Barb hit that milestone one year early.
“What I love most about it is, because the money goes into an endowment, the proceeds support cancer patients forever,” she said.
Barb donates the dollars she earns from her part-time South Central Human Services Center job. She also raises money through an annual Facebook fundraiser and at JRMC’s Golf “FORE” Good event.
Since 2016, more than 250 people have benefited from the Togstads’ generosity.
“I love everything about Barb. She has this passion and energy that bubbles over into everything she does. She has worked so hard to create this fund and help others. I’m so glad to have her in our JRMC family and as a friend,” Jackson said.
BENEVOLENT SINCE BIRTH
Barb remembers the story. She ran a fever of 106 degrees as a new baby and suffered from pneumonia. Doctors didn’t think she’d live. Today, she is 69 years old.
“God took care of me when I was supposed to die. Now, I must give back,” she said. “I’m here for a purpose and that’s to help others.”
For decades, she’s done that, supporting her church, Stutsman County Relay for Life and the Jamestown Cancer Support Group.
Her parents, who raised Barb and her two older brothers in Minot, N.D., earned their living working for the railroad. Barb’s father had served in the military, receiving a Purple Heart for his service in World War II.
“We’re not a rich family. We’re very average,” she said. “I think mom and dad would be proud of me.”
Togstad hopes others give back too – in whatever way and for whatever cause means the most to them. For her, giving helps her grieve and heal.
“It just makes you feel better when you do something,” she said. “We can all be caring in our own way.”
Togstad’s mother would turn 100 on July 20, 2026. To support Togstad in reaching her $100,000 goal, visit jrmcnd.com/giving.
ANNUAL DONOR RECOGNITION
JRMC is grateful for the community’s love and support. Also recognized at the Pillars of Giving event were:
- Outstanding Seedling (youth recognition): BIO Girls
Members of the BIO Girls are in grades 2-6. They learn about self-worth, self-esteem and physical health and wellness. Together, they also run. Their goal to make it to the annual Running of the Pink fundraiser every June. Running of the Pink funds help women access important preventative screenings like breast and cervical exams through the No Excuses program. In addition, BIO Girls raise money for women’s health through lemonade stands, car washes and volunteering their time with other organizations.
- Community Difference Partner of the Year: Thundering Saints motorcycle group
For Rocky Gabel, some of the most memorable miles were on his motorcycle. Gabel, of Valley City, N.D., created the Thundering Saints motorcycle group in memory of his late wife, Debbie. Doctors diagnosed Debbie with ovarian cancer in 2005. After her diagnosis, she took up an interest in motorcycles. When she was healthy, the couple often rode together, he on his bike and she on hers. In 2008, after seven surgeries in three years, Debbie was too sick to ride alone. So, she rode double with her husband. In Debbie’s honor, Rocky and the Thundering Saints organize an annual motorcycle ride. In addition, they created a nonprofit organization for charitable gaming. The Thundering Saints dedicated a named endowment to Debbie, ensuring JRMC can offer cancer care every single day.
- Volunteer of the Year: Diane Witzig
Witzig volunteers at the JRMC Surgery Desk each week. She provides a smile and comfort to each surgery center patient and their family as they arrive for care.
- Auxilian of the Year: LaRue Odenbach
Odenbach serves on our foundation board and is the Auxiliary president. In addition, she spends hours every week, marking inventory for our Gift Shoppe and facilitating Auxiliary events.