Stephanie Andresen overcame her physical disabilities and birth defects with treatment from the Shriners Hospital for Children. She realizes how fortunate she was to receive treatment free of charge from the Shriners Hospital, and promised to pay them back somehow. She started to pay the hospital back in the year 2000 by starting a fundraiser in her community that would benefit the hospital. This fundraiser and public relations campaign, called Ride for Shrine, is now in its third year. This event, which is a motorcycle ride, is one that is very close to Stephanie’s heart.
Because of her physical disabilities, Stephanie will never be able to ride a motorcycle by herself, but she is able to ride with her father. Stephanie plans and organizes the event. She books the venue, obtains donated food and beverages from local businesses, designs and prints all posters, banners, waivers, and tickets, and solicits local businesses to donate raffle prizes for giveaway at the event. She also coordinates advertising – on radio, television, and in the newspapers. The event takes an entire year to plan.
Stephanie’s Ride for Shrine fundraising event helps the Minneapolis hospital gain public awareness by informing people about the Shriners Hospital for Children. Stephanie is quick to speak about misconceptions that people may have about the hospital and she is not afraid to answer questions about the leg braces that she wears. In fact, she encourages adults and children alike to ask any questions that they may have. This alone shows courage and commitment. She makes herself available to local schools and clubs to talk about the Shriners Hospital and living with a disability. She does all of this while attending Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and maintaining a high grade point average.
The Ride for Shrine is Stephanie’s passion. She believes that by holding the event she is making the world a better place. Although she devotes a lot of her time to this endeavor, she also finds time to dedicate to other volunteer work. For more than two years, she has been feeding a local resident that has dementia and is immobile at a nursing home twice a day seven days a week. When this resident was placed in the hospital for pneumonia, she spent the night by her side. The doctor’s are amazed that this particular resident is doing so well.
In March of last year, Stephanie was assaulted in the nursing home where she volunteers. The perpetrator was another resident, and Stephanie bravely stepped in front of the assaulter to protect the resident that she cares for. Stephanie bore the brunt of the attack, instead of the immobile resident.
Stephanie has also been involved with the March of Dimes, the Alzheimer’s Association, and local benefits for personal families. She sets up carwashes, candy sales, and bake sales to raise money for the March of Dimes. Stephanie also set-up collection jars at local businesses in order to collect money for the March of Dimes. She has also developed her own program called “One small S.T.E.P. Toward a Better Tomorrow.” (Support, Trust, Education, Participation.) This program was developed to encourage community members to volunteer and find their passion in life.