Patients hold parade to celebrate beloved doctor’s retirement

Published: Dec. 16, 2020 at 7:36 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Wednesday afternoon was bittersweet for the pediatric patients of Horizon Clinic in Bismarck. Kids and parents held a special ceremony to say farewell to someone they say they could always count on.

It was a parade to commemorate a new beginning. Long-time patients of Dr. Stephen McDonough waived goodbye as he began a new chapter of his life: retirement.

Over the last 40 years, a single doctor made a lasting impression.

“I will always remember how you cared for me after I took a baseball to the mouth at a Little League game when I was 11, and you were 16,” said Dr. Stephen McDonough’s first patient and brother, Larry McDonough.

Parents and his patients agree, Dr. Stephen McDonough improved their lives and touched their hearts through his ability to hear their concerns.

“It is so hard to have a child that does not have a simple health care journey. To have somebody like Dr. Steve in your corner backing you up every step of the way, it just makes it so much easier,” said Toby Lunstad whose daughter, Addilynn, is a patient of Dr. Steve.

“He listens and believes in parents,” said Steph Orr, whose son, Brevin, is a patient of Dr. Steve.

“When he was done listening, he went into action,” said Kari Wolff whose daughter, Libby, is a patient as well.

They said he fought for them when no one else would.

“If Doctor Steve didn’t exist, I don’t know if anybody would even know that I would have Pandas or what to do with it or how to get me better or anything like that,” said Patient Brevin Orr.

The day came for Dr. Steve to hang up his stethoscope. But, his patients weren’t going to let him go without a last “thank you.”

“It’s really humbling and overwhelming. Every day that goes by, you just don’t realize the number of people that care for what you’re doing,” said pediatrician Stephen McDonough.

Dr. Steve says the secret to his success has been his ability to relate to his patients.

“Going to work every day was like interacting with my peers because I got to talk to kids, play with kids. Yeah, it’s just to be at their level,” McDonough said.

And while he will be missed by many, he won’t be too far from the kiddos.

“I’m going to some of the schools to talk about animals and their habitats. I’ve done some children’s books. I’m going to do some writing,” McDonough said.

The lasting impact he’s made will always be there. Dr. Steve says his retirement plans also include nature photography, exercising with his three golden retrievers and getting out to the Badlands.

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