By Marci Narum
Thrivent member Priscilla Sauer wants to see pediatric cancer and all other childhood diseases left in the dust. That’s why she organizes the Bismarck Area St. Jude’s Trail Ride every year. It’s a fundraiser to support the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, whose mission is “to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment.”
The trail ride happens on the last Sunday of July at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park south of Mandan and has raised nearly $30,000 for St. Jude’s since Priscilla began organizing it in 2011.
“I love horses, I love kids, and I love to organize,” Priscilla says. “So I put it all together and built the St. Jude’s trail ride for the Bismarck-Mandan area.”
Priscilla is the mother of four children and grandma to two. But she has touched the lives of countless more kids. She’s been a Sunday school teacher, church youth director, a 4-H leader for 12 years, and a daycare provider for 20 years.
“What is the saying, ‘I build dreams?’ I build dreams in little kids. And I think that’s what St. Jude’s does. They build dreams. It’s good to have hope and dreams that everything will be okay. I can’t imagine being away from home and trying to nurse a sick kid back to health not knowing if they have a chance. What if we can give them a chance?”
Priscilla’s whole family is involved in the St. Jude’s Trail Ride—her husband, kids, brothers, and sisters. Her mother was always part of her inspiration to lead the fundraiser too. And she still is, even after her death two years ago.
“My mom was born in 1949 with spina bifida. She never walked a day in her life. St. Jude’s is out there researching for many purposes. The research that has been done for spina bifida alone has helped improve lives, let alone other diseases and cancers. How can you not help someone have a better life?
“After my mom died I didn’t have the ambition to organize the event. But I could hear my mom saying, ‘Get your butt out of bed. You’ve got work to do.’”
Priscilla prays every year that God will provide a day of favorable weather for the event. So far, her prayers have been answered, and she is committed to planning the ride every year she can. After all, wild horses couldn’t drag Priscilla Sauer away from what she cares about most.