2022 Children’s Hospital Ambassador gives back

Sam Matheson uses his shopping spree to buy toys for hospitalized children

Woman stands with Children's Ambassador outside Scheels sporting goods store with full shopping carts.

Sam Matheson is a champion both on and off the fairway. 

The Sanford Health Foundation and the Sanford International named Sam the 2022 Sanford Children’s Hospital Ambassador. He represented the Sanford Children’s Hospital at the Sanford International and will represent the hospital at tournament events throughout the year. 

Cancer-free after 3 years

Today, the 16-year-old is cancer-free. He started showing signs of illness near his 12th birthday, lacking energy. He was later diagnosed with rhabdomysarcoma, a cancerous tumor in his nasal cavity and left jaw. 

“The Sanford Children’s Hospital Ambassador is the real champion of tournament week, and so it’s no surprise when they receive the loudest ovation during the opening and closing ceremonies,” said Josh Brewster, tournament director of the Sanford International. “Supporting the tournament through volunteering, purchasing a ticket or donating to the Sanford Health Foundation helps make more stories like Sam’s possible.”

Sam is the sixth Sanford Children’s Hospital Ambassador, joining Jaxon and Jeren Scheff (2018), Avery Hill (2019), Ben Wieman (2020) and Cobey DeSchepper (2021).

“Sam has overcome so much in his young life, and it is a joy to welcome him into this special group of ambassadors,” said Erin Sanderson, executive director of the Sanford Health Foundation. “His presence shows the power of the Sanford International and what the tournament is really all about – making a lasting impact on children in our community.”

Using the chance to give back

Being named the Sanford Children’s Hospital Ambassador comes with its perks.

Sam was treated to an all-expense-paid shopping spree at Scheels sporting goods store in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Sam was able to pick out any and all golf clothes, as well as a new Callaway Mavrik Driver.

“It was interesting. I’ve never really just went on a shopping spree. I don’t usually do that. So, it was fun to just buy whatever I wanted,” he laughed.

However, he wanted to use this opportunity to give back. 

He also could pick out any and all toys he wanted while at Scheels and decided to donate them to the children currently staying in the Sanford Children’s Hospital. 

He said it felt “really cool” to be able to give back.

“I remember I was at the hospital and sometimes there’d be stuff that would come in, like a blanket. So, it’s cool now that I’m the one giving to them,” he said. 

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Posted In Cancer, Children's, Community, Foundation, Sanford International, Sioux Falls