Tracy’s Sanctuary House

Providing sanctuary for families experiencing medical emergencies or a life-threatening crisis.

Who We Are

Filling The Gap

Tracy’s Sanctuary House is a non-profit organization located in the heart of Bismarck, North Dakota. Founded in 2005, Tracy’s Sanctuary House provides a one-of-a-kind, much-needed service to the community for those who find themselves in desperate need of a place offering privacy and solace during their medical crisis. Whether for staying close to a loved one being treated for cancer or for new parents who have a baby in Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU), Tracy’s Sanctuary House has been a home away from home for families in their time of need.

The Beginning

Tracy’s Story

Tracy was born Jan. 17, 1960, in Elgin, to Donald and Peggy (Hillius) Arndt. She graduated from Flasher High School, obtained her associate’s degree in forestry from Bottineau College, and received a bachelor’s degree in horticulture from North Dakota State University. Tracy married Bruce Rittel on Sept. 4, 1982, in Mandan and went on to have two wonderful children, Kelsey and Mariah. Tracy was a loving and dedicated mother and wife. She was passionately involved with her daughters’ soccer and proud of their accomplishments. Tracy never seemed to have a bad day, always friendly, smiling, and ready to help. She was always providing little rays of sunshine with her generous giving.

On August 9, 2004, over 200 miles from home, Tracy, along with her husband, her eleven-year-old daughter, and another passenger were returning from a trip when their vehicle rolled. Tracy did not survive.

The Vision

Creating Tracy’s Sanctuary House

While Tracy was fighting for her life far from home in an area hospital near the accident, Tracy’s husband and young daughter paced the cold hospital halls and waiting room. Distraught and overcome with waves of emotion, they desperately needed a private place to await the arrival of Tracy’s college-bound daughter and find sanctuary through their anguish. After Tracy’s passing, they also needed a place to make phone calls to family, make necessary immediate arrangements, and openly grieve.

So far from home, they needed a sanctuary – but there was no such place. Tracy’s family’s mission was to create one. In 2005, they made their vision come to life – a temporary home for families who find themselves in similar situations as Tracy’s husband and daughter.

How We Help

The Impact of Tracy’s Sanctuary House

Families Helped

Nights of Lodging in 2023

Our Impact


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