Ruth Grinstead is a lady who likes to turn her beliefs into action.
When Mrs. Grinstead saw stories of the children at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital on television, she believed in the mission and took action to begin donating to find cures for catastrophic childhood diseases. As she learned more about the hospital, she decided to put St. Jude in her will as the beneficiary of a percentage of her estate.
"I decided that was a good place to help children with whatever we had left or saved over our lifetime," says Mrs. Grinstead, 84, adding that childhood cancer doesn't only affect the child. "It affects the whole family . . . The other children and the whole household is disrupted."
She appreciates St. Jude's family-centered care. St. Jude is the only pediatric cancer center where families never pay for treatments that are not covered by insurance. St. Jude also pays for lodging, food and travel for patients and a family member.
Mrs. Grinstead is a member of the Danny Thomas-St. Jude Society, as is everyone who makes a bequest or planned gift to St. Jude. The society was created to pay tribute to friends who have included St. Jude in their will or other estate and financial plans; there is no membership fee or minimum gift amount to join.
When Mrs. Grinstead attended the local Danny Thomas-St. Jude Society luncheon, she met one of the St. Jude patients from her area. "That just emphasized more of what I thought about St. Jude," she said. "I feel like they do such good."
A native of Connecticut, Mrs. Grinstead moved to Texas with her husband about 60 years ago after her parents retired there. She had a long career with Allstate Insurance Co., retiring as a training administrator after 23 years with that company.
Although Mrs. Grinstead doesn't have children, she donates to charities that benefit them and checks into those charities thoroughly before making her decision.
"I've looked it over pretty well and I don't see them goofing off or any scandals associated with St. Jude," she says. "I think when I first started donating there was one children's disease (acute lymphoblastic leukemia) that had (less than) a 5% cure rate, and the last time I heard it had a 94% cure rate. Their work in the laboratory has paid off. They are definitely coming up with cures, and that tickles me."