The Steven J. Olsen Memorial Fund

Steven J. Olsen Memorial Fund
Oceans of Love – Bringing Hope to the Hurting
An Ocean of Love Lends Support

Steven, 29, died in March 2004, after a nine-month battle with Burkitt’s lymphoma, a rare and aggressive cancer. In addition to strong doses of chemotherapy, Steven’s treatment included an expensive stem cell transplant which would not be covered by his existing insurance.

Family and friends at Our Father Lutheran Church sprang to action, joined by many Thrivent Financial chapters and Care Abounds in Communities funds. Together they raised over $350,000 which began with a one-night event at Denver’s Ocean Journey on October 16, 2003, enough to initiate the transplant.

Later, when Medicaid unexpectedly covered most of the expense of the transplant, the remaining funds in the Oceans of Love account became a hopeful beacon for others with significant financial and medical needs. Although Steven did not survive to see how the fund would eventually provide hope to many, his church, his family, his friends and Thrivent Financial remain steadfast to that end. The funds, in Steven’s memory, will be distributed to those with significant medical needs into perpetuity.


The Purpose of the Fund

The purpose of the Steven J. Olsen Memorial Fund is to assist individuals and/or families who are experiencing both serious medical and financial concerns.

Who Can Apply for Funding?

Individuals or families of individuals who have serious medical and financial concerns.

Medical concerns include life altering diseases or conditions like cancer, heart disease, paralysis, neurological disorders, or accidents resulting in serious, debilitating bodily injuries.

Serious financial concerns include issues directly attributable to the medical concerns and may include inability to afford medical treatment and/or to pay bills or meet family needs.

To fill out a request for an application, please click here.


Recipients of “Oceans of Love” Fund Proclaim:

“It’s wonderful knowing that there are people who care enough to give in order that I may enjoy a few more years of life with my family.” Gary Christenson, Parker, CO

“To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die.” Carol Pieper, Centennial, CO

“Steven IS making a huge difference in the lives of two of my clients. For that we are so grateful.”  Daniel Austin, Thrivent Financial Consultant, Greeley, CO

Just how big is an “ocean of love”? For the family and friends of the late Steven Olsen, it continues to grow.

The Steven J. Olsen Memorial Fund is supported through your prayers, offerings, endowments, memorials and bequests.

If you are interested in making a gift to the fund, click here to make an online donation and input ‘Steven J Olsen Fund’ in the box marked ‘Other’.

Donations can also be made by check. Make checks payable to the Steven J. Olsen Memorial Fund in care of Our Father Lutheran Church and mail them to:

Our Father Lutheran Church
6335 S. Holly Street
Centennial, CO 80121


Steven’s Story

Steven John Olsen was born on April 13, 1974 in Denver, CO a fourth generation native of Colorado and son of Robert and Linda Olsen. As a child, Steven was an avid reader, a friend to many, a go-getter soccer player and a gifted trumpet player in Colorado Honor Band.

During his years at Denver Lutheran High School, Steven was an honor student and received National Merit recognition. After graduating from Valparaiso University in 1996, Steven worked as a mechanical engineer for five years, owned a saltwater fish business for six months, and then became a life support engineer at Ocean Journey in July 2002.

Steven was diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma in July, 2003 and fought valiantly for his life through many rounds of chemotherapy. In November 2003, he underwent a stem cell transplant, made possible by his brother David, who was a perfect match, and by the generous donations of many through “Oceans of Love for Steven.” Then, in January and February, he spent six weeks in the hospital fighting the resulting graft versus host disease. Steven finally lost his battle with cancer on March 12, 2004 at his parents’ home, surrounded by his family and his fiancée.

Steven gave a strong witness of his faith in a loving and powerful God. He served others with his generous heart and wise counsel, and he was a faithful friend to many.



In the Words of Others

“He taught us all about dignity, grace, humility, and faith! Steven did more for this church in his short life than most of us do in ours. He brought us all together and kindled friendships and caring for each other.” Vanessa McClearn

“The best memory is that series of hospital visits as the end drew near. Spirits buoyed by faith, Steve always witnessed to me of his faith in our Saving Christ. The minister was ministered to each time. Such a wonderfully unique Saint of God was our Steve!” Pastor Don Hinchey

“We will miss the calming lilt of Steven’s voice, the dazzling flash of his smile, and his steady faithfulness in his walk with Christ.” Ralph & Kath Geisler

“How appropriate that Steven’s final ‘hat’ would be a crown? This lover of hats was a blessing to us all in these last months, as he fought ­all the while staying true to his faith. We thank God for Steven.” Diane and Jerry Miller