There's Always Room for St. Jude
Diane and Umberto Bertoli don't have children of their own, yet when people ask Umberto if he has children he always replies, "Yes. And the number is increasing every month!" That's because Diane and Umberto consider the children of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to be their own.
Umberto became a Partner In Hope more than 21 years ago after seeing the story of St. Jude on TV. In his wallet, he carries the patient photos that he receives each month and, when people ask if he has children, he takes the opportunity to tell them about St. Jude. Describing her husband's devotion to the children of St. Jude, Diane says, "Our finances were not so good back then. But, my husband saw the children on TV and just had to help. He told me, 'Treat the donations to St. Jude like a bill. If you've got to skip the mortgage to make sure it gets paid, then do that.'" The Bertolis want their legacy of helping the children to continue so they have also made a provision for the hospital in their will. When the Bertolis began thinking about making a will, leaving their estate to St. Jude just seemed to make sense. With no close family members on either side, they both knew immediately that they wanted the children of St. Jude to be their beneficiaries.
Married for 37 years, Diane and Umberto reside in Yonkers, N.Y. Diane was born there, but Umberto, born and raised in Italy, migrated to the United States in 1969.
Umberto was in the heating and plumbing business until on-the-job injuries forced him to retire. Diane is a retired bookkeeper. They love to travel and, in addition to their passion for St. Jude, they are both target and trap-shooting enthusiasts. Unfortunately, ever since a stroke robbed Diane of the use of her right hand several years ago, she hasn't been able to enjoy this favorite activity. But she also loves to cook and create her own recipes. In fact, before she retired, she even ran a catering service on the weekends for fun. Diane also enjoys helping people with disabilities and often visits the rehabilitation center where she recovered from her own stroke.
The Bertolis feel good knowing they will continue supporting the children of St. Jude through their estate. "We only wish it could be more," Diane says. "It means hope for the children. If you have $10 or $10 million, whatever portion a person can give, it helps. If I had a child in that condition, I know I would be so thankful for the help. It's so important. There is always room for St. Jude."
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