Skip to main content


Walking Forward Program Receives $95,000 Donation

Jul 20, 2021 09:48PM ● By Med Magazine

Walking Forward has received a $95,000 donation from the Irving A. Hansen Memorial Foundation.

The donation adds to more than $150,000 in funding the foundation already provided to primarily fund low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) to screen patients at risk for developing lung cancer.

“The generosity of the Irving A. Hansen Memorial Foundation’s generous gift will help many patients who do not have insurance, and will assist with the access for American Indian patients,” said Daniel Petereit, MD, FASTRO, radiation oncologist at Monument Health – John T. Vucurevich Cancer Care Institute and developer of Walking Forward. “This means American Indians who are at risk for lung cancer can continue to get this important screening to catch lung cancer in its earliest stages when it is most treatable.”

Walking Forward, a community research program of Avera, provides tribal communities with access to a variety of cancer-related services including cancer education and screening, earlier diagnosis and access to clinical trials. Another key service is community navigation. Working in small groups or one on one, navigators can assist patients or families with questions on any aspect of cancer prevention or treatment.

The Lakota Sioux’s strong story-telling culture is a part of the program’s message.

“Oral history is a central idea in our Walking Forward communication programs,” said Petereit. “We’ll use every channel we can to help anyone who needs help. Cancer is the leading cause of death for South Dakota American Indians, but we want to tell a new story, one where these numbers change.”

“Low-dose CT through the Irving A. Hansen Memorial Foundation funds has made the difference for heavy smokers in this region to receive lung cancer screenings that could potentially save their lives – or allow them to live longer, more productive lives,” Petereit said. “We’re grateful for this donation that will help to sustain this important program.”