Meet Our Donors
We thank all our planned-gift donors for their generous support. Here are some of their stories.
Charitable Remainder Trust
Grandparents Giving for Future of St. Jude Children
The arrival of a new grandchild helped to make Paul and Lynnea Thibodaux faithful donors to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
An occasional donor to St. Jude at the time, Paul said that the new addition to his family made an all-day radio fundraiser for the hospital in 2007 really hit home. The Thibodauxs became monthly donors through the Partner In Hope program and, as they learned more about St. Jude, "we upped our pledge," he says.
Read more about Paul and Lynnea
Charitable Gift Annuities
Caring for the Kids
Sharon Case recently reminded a friend that you cannot understand what someone else is going through until you experience the same thing yourself.
Read more about Sharon Case
A Win-Win Arrangement
To Robert Blaylock, planned giving with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital makes good financial sense. "I got a charitable gift annuity because interest rates are so low at the banks," explains the retired certified public accountant. "A gift annuity provides a guaranteed payment every quarter to supplement my social security. The money is going to go to St. Jude anyway [in my will], so I'm just giving it to them ahead of time and getting some back, tax free. The way I see it, there's no way I can lose."
Read more about Robert Blaylock
A Mother's Legacy
Jean Mary Kinney has supported St. Jude Children's Research Hospital since its beginning.
"I'm from Chicago, where Danny Thomas was well-known," she explains. "Back in the early 1960s, we heard about his plans. Then we heard he opened the hospital, and my mother said we should give money for it. Every year since the hospital opened, we gave. It wasn't a lot, but we gave every year."
Read more about Jean Mary Kinney
Something to Believe In
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital supporter Mary Mannarino says she is the self-appointed ambassador for St. Jude in her hometown of Dover, Tenn. "I am not shy about getting my point across when I really believe in something," declares Mary.
This active octogenarian has devoted much of her time to working for charitable causes since relocating to Dover from Michigan approximately 15 years ago. "I love any cause that helps animals or children," Mary says.
Read more about Mary Mannarino
Sisters in St. Jude - A Family Legacy
Ann, Pam, and Marie Volpe, Rose Della Bovie and their late sister Colleen shared the bonds of sisterhood, but they also share another bond in their passion for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Born in Manhattan, New York, the Volpes were a close-knit Italian-American family of 5 girls and 1 boy, who shared an apartment in the city until they moved to a house in the Bronx where they grew up.
Francis Rasmus – The Fun of Giving
Francis Rasmus, 69, continues to work "very part-time" in the insurance industry, a career he began more than 45 years ago. Although he never made more than $45,000 a year in salary, he saved and invested his money very wisely. As a result, Mr. Rasmus now devotes most of his time to his passions – visiting museums, attending concerts and plays and supporting the causes dear to his heart.
"Making a difference while you are alive is more rewarding than waiting until you are gone," he explains. "I'm having the time of my life giving my money away."
Mr. Rasmus favors charitable gift annuities (CGAs) because "you can put your money to work now. You get a tax deduction, and some of the money is tax free." In addition, he says, CGAs provide "you or someone you care about with a regular income for life, and you help a charity . . . It's a fun thing to do."
Read more about Francis Rasmus
Charitable Gift Annuities
A "Win-Win" for Richard Panelli
Some might say that Richard Panelli has lived an ordinary life.
He grew up in The Bronx, New York, graduated high school and went on to serve the U.S. Army in Germany after being drafted in the early 1950s. He later married and went to work as a retail salesman in the food industry until he retired in the 1990s.
But sometime during his retirement, Rich decided that he wanted to put his savings to extraordinary use. He established a charitable gift annuity (CGA) with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
"I saw a program for St. Jude on TV, and that was what sold me right away," said Rich, who is 79. "I saw what those kids are going through and said, 'I gotta do something about this,' and that's what I did."
Rich, a widower with no children, owns his apartment and lives modestly on his retirement income. He emphasized that he didn't want to leave money behind to be frittered away.
"I decided that whatever I have and own is not going to go that route. I'm going to have it do some good for someone, and I want it to do good for the kids at St. Jude," he said.
Read more about Richard Panelli.
Rose Mary Kennedy is tap dancing her way through life.
At 83, the native Texan has been dancing since she first took tap lessons at age 12. She has taught classes off and on from the time she was a teenager and continues to teach tap dancing at a nearby senior center today.
Her lifelong hobby has helped her to remain active and fit during a very busy life as a mother of nine whose focus always has been on helping children. Because of that focus, it makes sense that her volunteer work and charitable giving revolve around children.
She says that was her motivation for establishing two separate charitable gift annuities (CGAs) with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Read more about Rose Mary Kennedy.
Giving to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital has been a way of life for Patricia Zarzycki since she was a child and watched her mother send in regular donations.
Now 63, Patricia has decided to make St. Jude a beneficiary in her will. "I have it in my will that whatever I have is going to go for public auction, and the proceeds will go to St. Jude," she said.
Read more about Patricia Zarzycki.
Roger and Margaret Denton - Giving today to help tomorrow's children
Roger and Margaret Denton have been helping the children of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital for nearly a decade as Partners in Hope, but they recently decided to take their support to the next level.
The parents of three grown children and the grandparents of four, Roger and Margaret had already considered remembering St. Jude in their will.
Read more about Roger and Margaret Denton
Doris and Dale Urbain - Devoted to Helping Children
For Doris and Dale Urbain, retirement is not about taking it easy.
The former school teachers spend much of their time on the run, often literally, to help children and families in their community of Burnsville, Minn. as well as such places as Memphis, Tenn., Nicaragua and Jamaica.
When they are not busy helping those less fortunate, you often find the Urbains on the jogging track helping raise money for them. They have logged numerous marathons and half-marathons, 5-K and 10-K races for charity.
Read more about Dale & Doris Urbain
Making giving a way of life - Tom and Eleanor Hicks
About 20 years ago, Thomas “Buck” and Eleanor Hicks were visiting his World War II buddy in Ohio. The friend told Buck that for only $16 a month, he could support vital research at St. Jude.
It was an easy decision for the newly retired couple. “Eleanor and I had everything we needed,” said Buck. “We have always been very conservative. I call it a ‘Depression hangover.’”
A few years later, Buck and Eleanor started using part of their retirement income to create charitable gift annuities with St. Jude. In exchange, they receive fixed payments for life, which they then use to establish additional gift annuities.
Read more about Tom and Eleanor Hicks
St. Jude CGA Helps Taylors Achieve Their Goals
Children have always been important to Evelyn and Allen Taylor, even though they never had children of their own.
Evelyn taught children's Sunday school for many years and their niece, Teresa Beasley, remembers how much fun it was to visit them as a child.
"I loved to come to their farm, and my aunt loved to have us in her home, whether it was in the summer to enjoy vegetables from her garden and sit in the swing under the big oak tree; or to enjoy the warmth of her home in the winter with coffee and home-made dessert. She especially enjoyed sharing family photos and the stories behind them."
Read more about Evelyn and Allen Taylor
Donor Advised Fund
Eleanor B. Sweet Fund - A Legacy of Thoughtfulness
Thoughtfulness was a way of life for Eleanor "Ellie" Sweet; she brought out the best in others and made them feel treasured, according to her long-time friend and self-described soul mate, Norm Jackson.
"She had something nice to say to everyone – even in the checkout at the grocery store," he said. "People would light up talking with her."
Although Ellie died in May of 2002, others continue to benefit from her thoughtfulness – especially the children of St. Jude – through the Eleanor B. Sweet Fund.
"Ellie was always interested in St. Jude and had given to the hospital for many years. We always knew she would care for the hospital in her estate," Norm said.
Read more about Eleanor Sweet
Gifts of Appreciated Securities
A gift of stock for the kids of St. Jude - Mike Corboy
Mike Corboy knows a good business deal when he sees one. A long-time employee of Texas Instruments, leader of high-tech companies and innovator of several successful ventures, Mike has enjoyed an accomplished business career. He also is a loyal supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. His annual donations to St. Jude are made by giving the gift of stocks. “It’s just a great way to give money to worthy causes,” he said.
Mike and his wife Lou Ann became involved with St. Jude through their friend and neighbor, a St. Jude board member. After a visit to the St. Jude campus, Mike and Lou Ann began to include St. Jude in their regular philanthropic giving. "It’s unique to the world,” he said of St. Jude.
Read more about giving Mike Corboy
Jeff Carlin - Dedicating his life to children
When Jeff Carlin looks at the photos of patients at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, he sees more than children.
"I see those faces, and I think of their parents and siblings and what they are going through," says the 70-year-old retiree from Blairsville, Ga., who with his wife, Janet, have chosen to leave St. Jude in their will.
Jeff empathizes with the parents of St. Jude patients because he was once in their shoes. His only child, Jefferson Daniel Carlin, was diagnosed with bilateral retinoblastoma in 1969, shortly after his first birthday, and he and his first wife, Betsy, brought him to St. Jude for treatment. Although doctors did all they could to stop the malignant eye tumors, Jefferson Daniel died July 5, 1971.
Read more about Jeff and Janet Carlin
The Joy of Giving: Janice and Ellis Harrell
After a recent visit to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Ellis Harrell encouraged others to “Act now. Don’t wait to do something for St. Jude, do it now!” That enthusiasm for giving is nothing new to the Harrell’s. “I learned early on that you get out of something what you put into it.”
Ellis and his wife Janet have a big heart for children of St. Jude. They love to spend time traveling and playing cards, but most importantly they enjoy spending time with their big family: 7 children, 13 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren.
Read more about Ellis Harrell
A Family United – Mark & Anna Aults
Mark and Anna Ault's passion for St. Jude is contagious. Their years of dedication to the children motivated Mark's sister Patty became a loyal supporter as well.
Read more about Mark & Anna Aults.
A Proud Heritage – Ellie Noury Wagenti
Ellie Noury Wagenti has been supporting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital from the time it was only a dream in the mind and heart of Danny Thomas.
Read more about Ellie Noury Wagenti.
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.
Read more about Diane and Umberto Bertoli.
Elizabeth "Betty" Decker has one very good reason for her decision to leave St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in her will – her only child, Jimmy.
"The reason I'm so interested in helping with cancers is that I had one son I lost five years ago to non-Hodgkin lymphoma," she says. "He was only 56. He fought the battle."
Mrs. Decker, 82, purchased a memorial brick in honor of her son in St. Jude's Pathway to Hope after he died in 2005. She then began to donate to the hospital on a regular basis because she admires its mission of finding cures for childhood cancers. "Prior to my Jimmy's demise, I had seen all of these commercials about St. Jude. And I just thought I should put this (money) where I could help somebody," she says.
Read more about Elizabeth "Betty" Decker.
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.
Read more about Ruth Grinstead.
Vince Suppan - A passion for life and helping others
"I want to retire from retirement so I can have more free time," Vince Suppan jokes.
The 88-year-old Suppan's activities would quickly tire a man of any age. He serves on a number of committees in his community, at church and at West Chester University (Pa.), where he taught for many years. He still plays the clarinet and marches in the West Chester University Alumni Marching Band. And each week he travels approximately 100 miles to conduct the Catasauqua Band – a position he has held for 62 years.
Read more about Vince Suppan
Evelyn Ballentine - "About Helping Others"
Having lived and worked in Memphis, Tenn., most of her life, Evelyn Ballentine has known about St. Jude Children's Research Hospital since it opened in 1962.
"But it is one thing to hear about a place and another thing to see it first-hand," said the former school librarian, who retired in 1994. Evelyn gained a first-hand perspective on what St. Jude means to children and families more than a decade ago, when a cousin's son was treated at St. Jude for aplastic anemia at age 8.
"My cousin explained to me how St. Jude cared for children whether they were rich or poor; with or without insurance, and that really impressed me," Evelyn recalled.
Read more about Evelyn Ballentine
Jack Vosse - Supporting St. Jude A Family Tradition
Jack Vosse's support for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital began as a teen, before the hospital was ever built. After all, what 16-year-old boy in 1957 wouldn't have said yes when his father asked if he wanted to help pick up actress Jane Russell from the Memphis airport in a limo?
Owner of the Vosse & Bick advertising agency, Jack's father had been recruited by Danny Thomas to oversee public relations for a St. Jude benefit at Russwood Park, and transporting stars was part of his role.
"It was very exciting for me," Jack recalled. "A local dealership provided the limo and I got to ride in the back seat with Ms. Russell and another star. I remember Dad telling me I was lucky I didn't have my driver's license yet, or he would have been the one sitting in the back seat."
Read more about Jack Vosse
Robert and Donna Worden Sharing Their Blessings
Robert Worden enjoys visiting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital when he can, but it is doubtful any visit will be as memorable as his first. He walked in the front doors on February 4, 1962, the day the hospital was dedicated.
Eleven-year-old Robert and his parents had come to visit his aunts and cousins who lived across the street from the original hospital.
Read more about Robert and Donna Worden
A Missionary for St. Jude - Mary Wardrop
Dr. Mary Wardrop's bright blue eyes and trim build reflect her energy and enthusiasm for life. A retired mathematics professor and researcher, she has traveled widely, studied several languages, and loves to play golf, read and volunteer in her community of Pinehurst, N.C.
But of all her broad and varied interests, supporting St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is at the top of her list.
"I'm almost like a missionary about St. Jude," says Mary, who often wears her St. Jude logo pin as a conversation starter and gives them as gifts to friends. "The more I learn about St. Jude, the more enthusiastic I become."
Read more about Mary Wardrop
Don Dillman – Giving to Children is His Greatest Joy
Don Dillman believes his support of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital today probably stems from his time fighting in the Vietnam War nearly 40 years ago.
"I decided as long as I was over there, I wanted to help" in some way, he says. So he bought food with his extra money and distributed it to children in an orphanage once a month, with the help of an interpreter.
He really enjoyed the visits, so when he returned home he wanted to continue to help children. "But I couldn't afford to give or do anything," he says. Initially he painted helicopters for the federal government and later had his own produce and arcade businesses, and a security service.
Read more about Don Dillman
Sharing His Passion for St. Jude
Bill Roach's introduction to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital® came, oddly enough, through a boat race.
As regional vice president for MICG Wealth Management in Norfolk, Va., Bill is encouraged to volunteer part-time for charities. He had been researching charities several years ago when an acquaintance asked him to help with a local regatta in support of St. Jude.
"I said yes, and the more research I did about St. Jude, the more I discovered that the hospital was something I wanted to support," he recalled. He became involved in a growing number of regional events supporting the hospital and soon was elected to the St. Jude Regional Board of Directors for Hampton Roads.
Read more about Bill Roach
Santa Brings Presents, Leaves Legacy To Children of St. Jude
The children of St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital® can't tell you who Kathy and Alan (Al) Westrich are, but they do know Santa and his wife. Don't tell anyone, but they are one in the same.
For the past three years, Al, the retired postmaster of St. Clair, Mo, has portrayed Santa for the children at the Memphis Grizzlies House, a short-term-stay housing facility for St. Jude patients.
Read more about the Westrich's