Dane Yde '08 creates Foundation to Realize Brother's Dream

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March 4, 2012

Dane Yde, class of 2008, is going the extra mile to make his brother's dream a reality. When Dane's younger brother Jorgen died of leukemia last year, his wish was to create a foundation that would ease others' pain in times of crisis. Now Dane is the CEO of the JY6 Foundation - formed to raise money for pediatric cancer research.

Story from Keloland News.
Story from the Argus Leader.

Accomplishing Brother's Dying Dream
by Casey Wonnenberg

SIOUX FALLS, SD - Sioux Falls teenager Jorgen Yde excelled at several sports and appeared to be the picture of perfect health. His VFW baseball team won the South Dakota State Championship in 2010 and he competed in cross country.

"When school was kind of wrapping up, he and his cross country buddies started running again to start their summer running program, to be in shape for fall. And he started talking about having hip pain," Jorgen's sister Katrina Yde said.

"We assumed it was the same type of thing I went through when I was his age, hip pain, growing pains associated with just fast growth," Jorgen's brother Dane Yde said.

Instead of the pain going away, it got worse over the next month. The family decided to take Jorgen to the hospital.

"After an MRI and bone marrow biopsy, they concluded that it was leukemia. And then he started his treatment right after that," Katrina said.

"With Trina and I both being in school, it worked out better than had we had full-time jobs. We were able to spend a lot of time with him," Dane said.

"Jorgen was the one saying, 'it's going to be okay.' And we were the ones just emotional and beside ourselves. Jorgen stayed tough and encouraged us that everything was going to be okay," Katrina said.

However, it was not okay. After 11 months, Jorgen lost his battle. Before his death, though, he had a wish for his siblings.

"He said that he wanted us to try to help kids and families who were dealing with those tough situations," Katrina said.

Jorgen's family is now trying to make his wish come true. They've started a foundation to raise money for pediatric cancer research.

"When we made the decision that we wanted to do this, Jorgen being the one who spear-headed it, I made a promise to him. I said on your birthday, which was August 23rd, 2011, I would personally deliver his articles of organization for his foundation to Pierre. So, my mom and I got in the car and drove to Pierre," Dane said.

With memories of Jorgen still hanging around the house, the siblings are moving forward with the JY6 foundation. They're organizing a dinner this month and a 5K run in May.

"Trina and I both feel like this is our medicine. This is our way to really positively remember Jorgen and honor him," Dane said.

Because even though their loved one was never able to accomplish his dream of being a pilot in the Air Force, they hope the organization flies high and helps others accomplish their dreams. That's what they say their little brother would have wanted.

"He was always thinking about other people, and he never really asked anything for himself," Katrina said.

If you would like more information about the foundation and its upcoming events, check out the JY6 Foundation website.

Callison: Family carries on dreams of Lincoln High student
by Jill Callison

Confronted with the knowledge that acute lymphoblastic leukemia would take his dreams away, Jorgen Yde wasted little time on self-pity.

Instead, the Lincoln High School sophomore began making plans to help others after his death.

In never-to-be-forgotten conversations, he told his parents and two older siblings what he wanted. And that was to help others.

“He gave us the direction as to where he wanted the money to go: children’s cancer research, leukemia research and then also to support families that were going through similar circumstances and were in need,” says his brother, Dane Yde, 25.

“That’s the kind of kid Jorgen was; he never asked for much throughout his life. He wanted to be around family, do things with friends. He never really asked for a lot. So when he asked (our sister) Katrina and I to undertake this foundation, we knew that’s what we had to do.”

As the family moves through the grieving process — Jorgen died May 12, and his father, J.R. Yde, died unexpectedly five months later — this is a way to pay back all the kindnesses shown to them, Katrina Yde says.

“That’s why we’re doing what we’re doing,” she says. “We received so much help and support, more than we could ever have asked for. It’s our way to say thank you, but the goal also is support and hope and better days to come for cancer patients and their families.”

The family has established the JY6 Foundation, taking the name from Jorgen’s initials and the number he wore on his baseball uniform. The shorthand came about when Jorgen was ill, and bracelets were produced with JY6 and his motto “Stay strong” stamped in the band. Teammates on the Lincoln baseball team and the VFW Sioux Falls Central team had it stitched onto their caps.

The foundation was incorporated Aug. 23. Dane and his mother, Julie, drove to Pierre that day and met with Secretary of State Jason Gant.

“Jason made sure we became an official nonprofit on Jorgen’s birthday, Aug. 23, 2011,” Dane says.

The foundation also is seeking nonprofit status with the IRS as a public charity so contributions will be tax deductible. Loose partnerships have been established with national leukemia and cancer research groups, which have promised to support JY6’s events.

Dane serves as JY6’ CEO, with Katrina the executive vice president. Julie Yde serves as the board of directors’ chairwoman. The board is composed of people who had a special connection to Jorgen and the Ydes.

Two events are planned for this year with two more possible. The first events are both something Jorgen requested, allowing the foundation to know it is doing exactly what he wanted.

“He made me promise if nothing else we would do a 5K every year,” Dane says. “And so I made a promise to him.”

The first 5K and one-mile fun run last year was planned as a celebration of Jorgen’s recovery. He ran cross-country for Lincoln his freshman year and planned to do so again before the leukemia was diagnosed.

Instead, after his death, the 5K, which drew more than 250 people, turned into a remembrance and fundraiser to help the Ydes with medical expenses. Some of that money helped start the foundation.

Plans are being made for the second annual 5K in May.

Right now, however, the focus is on something else Jorgen wanted: a way to thank the nurses who cared for him so tenderly during his illness.

“He was part of the planning for the Nurses Dinner,” Dane says. “They had formed a bond. He wanted them recognized and thanked for what they do.”

While the nurses at Sanford Children’s Hospital will be honored in particular this year, in the future the Nurses Dinner will focus on all nurses within the various health systems. The Ydes plan to establish a nurse of the year award, honoring individuals for their contributions.

The first Nurses Dinner will be March 31. A college friend of Dane’s, who is a nurse, has volunteered to be event coordinator.

Because Jorgen participated in talks about the foundation, it will always reflect his wishes and his personality.

“Jorgen was a pretty mature kid, also a caring person,” Dane says. “Throughout the entire journey, we never heard him complain. What was first and foremost on his mind besides fighting to beat this was his concern for his family and friends. I felt like a lot of the times Jorgen was doing the consoling, when it probably should have been the other way.”