Passing on Hope
In 1989, Mary and her husband sat in shock as they were told their 2-year-old son, Sam, had leukemia. Despite a lengthy remission, the cancer returned-twice. And at the age of 15, Sam passed away. While the grief was severe, through the sorrow Mary recognized the blessings bestowed on their family by others. She felt grateful for her strong support system, which included those at Blank Children's Hospital.
"When Sam died, all the people who had cared for Sam all those years were there for us," Mary says. "I was incredibly moved by how many came to his wake and the service. It was a really strong statement as to not only how much my son had meant to them, but what they had meant to us over the course of the years."
Even as Sam struggled with his illness, Mary realized how special it was to have an outstanding children's hospital close to home. Knowing the hospital's resources didn't always match its' ambitions, she was drawn to lend a helping hand. "I felt to the extent that I was, and am, able to share my time or my treasure to try to help make things easier for other children and their families-I wanted to do that," Mary explains.
For several years Mary, an attorney with the Principal Financial Group, has served on the Blank Children's Hospital Governing Board. Her family also set up an endowment in Sam's name, to which Mary and her parents, Bob and Lucille Schwarze, continue to make contributions. Recently, Mary made a future gift to Sam's endowment through the Wishes Endowment Campaign.
Mary and her family forever hope that people continue to remember the warmth, humor and compassion Sam generously displayed in life. Now, because of their gifts, his name will always promise hope for others being treated at Blank Children's Hospital.