Upcoming Events: Neal Hermanson Memorial Ranch Rodeo


Fund Background

The ESMF motto is “Mend them, Teach them.”  The goal and purpose is to help our young   folks.  This has been and will continue to be accomplished through financial aid for medical expenses and educational support through scholarships. 

Purpose of Award

The foundation will grant aid for the purpose of assisting parents with their child's medical expense. The directors will choose recipients. 

Medical Aid Recipients

Empty Saddle Memorial Foundation Medical Recipient


     The first person we were able to help with medical aid from the money raised through the Ranch Rodeo and put into the Empty Saddle Foundation was Cedar Rein Hovde the daughter of  J.J. & Tana Hovde. She is a beautiful little girl who just turned three. She has an older sister, Trista & a twin brother, Wacey all of Sidney, MT 

     Cedar has a rare; early childhood eye cancer called Retinoblastoma in her right eye. We currently travel to Memphis, TN every few weeks for exams under anesthesia (EUA's) & for her to receive a medication via I.V. to help shrink increased blood vessel growth in her eye.  The original tumor no longer appears vital since a radioactive plaque was placed in her eye for 4 days in August.  Her Dr. is carefully monitoring another area of her eye that appears suspicious...she may have another tumor developing. Praying very hard that it's not & that we'll receive a great report when we go back in March.

      The extremely generous donation has helped us with travel/medical expenses for our frequent trips...we are forever grateful & abundantly blessed!

Tana & JJ Hovde  


Sierra Crowe

      Sierra received the Gardasil vaccination in 2009.  Shortly after receiving it, she started to feel pain in her joints. We found out that due to the vaccination, she had developed Systemic Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. 

      This disease causes pain and inflammation in every joint in her body.  Her joints and muscles started getting weaker and weaker and since the condition was systematic it was affecting her immune system as well.  My husband and I needed to take her to the children’s hospital in Texas in order to get help for her.  Thanks to the generous donations from this organization as well as the donations from the wonderful people in town, we were able to make the trips every six months. 

      The Gardasil vaccination has caused adverse side effects in thousands of young girls and boys but the vaccination is still on the market.  These side effects include muscle loss, diabetes, Khrones Disease, arthritis, and many, many more.  Over 100 children have died due to complications arising after this vaccine.  I contacted Congress, Senate, and the White House about this vaccination.  I have also contacted the Center for Disease Control and Health and Human Services.  I have been told the same response from everyone.  Not enough children have had reactions yet.  My question to them was what is the magic number of children that need to get sick or die as a result of the vaccine.  I haven’t been given an answer to that yet.  The website  http://www.truthaboutgardasil.org/ gives stories about many of the young girls that have been affected.  Thankfully, my daughter only received one of the vaccinations and is currently on the slow road to recovery.  Many young children, however, are not so fortunate. 


Elijah Albertson

     Empty Saddle Memorial Foundation is a true blessing to families in the area that are going through medical difficulties that can lead to financial hardships. Our son, Elijah, was born with only one kidney and a condition that kept his kidney under constant pressure, threatening to damage it. He was delivered in Denver at Children’s Hospital Colorado and spent eight days in the NICU for this condition. Throughout his first year of life, we made numerous trips to Denver for doctoring and ultrasounds. He was finally able to have surgery in Denver at 14 months old to fix the condition. Throughout this trying period and thanks to Empty Saddle Memorial Foundation’s medical aid, we were able to concentrate on Elijah and getting him the medical care he needed, instead of financial burdens and stress. In many situations this is not the case, and we are very thankful to live in a community that takes care of each other. Many thanks to all those who support Empty Saddle Memorial Foundation and to those who manage this wonderful foundation that supports young people and their families with medical aid in our local community! Keep up the amazing work, it is truly a blessing!

Larry, Jill and Elijah Albertson 

Empty Saddle Memorial Foundation

Avery Sukut

     Our daughter, Avery Sukut, was diagnosed with Lymphoblatic Lymphoma in September 2014 at the age of three and a half. Since then, we have traveled many miles and spent numerous nights away from home (the longest stretch being 10 weeks) to make sure that Avery received the care she needed.      

     She has undergone four bone marrow draws, a liver biopsy, multiple CT and PET scans, six hospital stays and we have lost count of the number of lumbar punctures (where they inject the chemo straight into her spine) and chemo infusions (where it is pushed through her port). However, she has always had the perfect amount of sugar and spice in her little soul as she danced her way through treatment. She has her big brother Gradin to help keep a smile on her face and her little brother Foster (who joined us only four weeks after she was diagnosed) to keep her on her toes. Some days are definitely "easier" than others, but on those hard days we are so fortunate to be surrounded by such a loving community. We have said this time and time again, but your generosity and faithful prayers have moved mountains for our family.

      This battle has not been a short one and although Avery is cancer free, we are in the maintenance phase of her treatment. This means that even though we are coming up on the two year anniversary of her diagnosis, we still travel to Billings once every four weeks for chemo. This will last until November when Avery will have to very last chemo treatment and when she will be able to ring the golden bell. 'Thank You' just doesn't seem to cover our gratitude, but please know it comes from the heart. We are very blessed to live in a community that has organizations like The Empty Saddle Memorial, standing by people in their time of need.


Avery (5), Gradin (7), Foster (1.5), Brent and Lauren Sukut    

Empty Saddle Memorial Foundation Medical Aid

Jagger LaDuke

     Jagger is the son of Rory and Jen LaDuke of Sidney. He is a 4 year old boy who has been having

seizures since his 3rd birthday, July 18, 2016. After two mercy flights to Billings, there is still no

diagnosis. Jagger is now being tested for Alexander Disease, a form of Leukodystrophy, a disorder that affects the brain and central nervous system.

     Right now the doctors don't have answers and the seizures have continued. Medications have

not stopped the countless number of seizures Jagger has suffered since 2016. In August of

2017, Jagger had a seizure that lasted two hours and spent three days in ICU on life support.

November proved to be a difficult month as Jagger suffered an additional 17 seizures that led

to a flight to Denver for a consultation with specialists.


Carly Candee

Carly Candee is an 18-year-old identical twin and Sidney and Fairview Native. Carly is and always has been a cowgirl who has participated in 4-H, High School Rodeo and FFA. She developed a love of barrel racing at the age 13. Carly became severely ill at 15 years of age and was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis (UC), which is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease causing inflammation of the large intestine, rectum and colon with the development of ulcers on the intestines surface. Consequently, Carly’s active life abruptly changed and resulted in multiple trips to Billings for doctor appointments to consult with specialists in this field. Many of the visits leading to lengthy hospital stays. For the last couple of years Carly’s treatments have consisted of medications and exploratory surgeries with minimal to short lived treatment successes. On May 12th , 2018 Carly became severely ill and was airlifted to Billings and spent the next 19 days in the hospital suffering through the ups and downs resulting in all medication treatments failing. Consequently, Carly was faced with a very difficult adult decision at her early age, and the decision to have a Proctocolectomy was made. Which entails the removal of the rectum and all the colon. This procedure has made Carly disease free with no need for further medications, however the ending result is the need for a temporary ileostomy or exterior drainage bag. Carly will be recovering from this procedure for the next 6 months. Carly’s eventual goal is to have the reversal procedures done involving two additional reconstruction surgeries that will allow the eventual elimination of the drainage bag. Specialists in Billings recommended these procedures take place in a specialized hospital located in Scottsdale, Arizona at the Mayo Clinic. Doctors have counseled Carly and her family to prepare for the extensive traveling for the next 1-1/2 years. The cost has and will be immense, however the outcome of this lengthy and pain filled process will allow Carly to live the healthy life that she deserves.

     We want to thank the community, friends and family of Sidney and Fairview for all the kindness and support expressed to Carly and our Family during this entire process, it has meant absolutely everything to us all.

     Our Sincerest Gratitude & God Bless,

The family of Carly Candee