UnityPoint Health - Des Moines

Retirement for Tom and Susan Ballard Leads to Fulfillment

Retiring to Iowa from Washington, D.C., six years ago, Tom and Susan Ballard knew what they didn't want to do: rest on their laurels, indulge in leisure pursuits or just plain do nothing. Susan wanted to volunteer. And, because she has always loved children, she sought an opportunity where she could help kids. The more she asked around, the more good things she heard about Blank Children's Hospital.

She began volunteering in the hospital's Child Life playroom and was delighted to actually play with the children-rather than assuming tasks where she wasn't in their company. In the playroom, Susan reads from a storybook to a youngster or cuddles a baby that needs to be held.

Quite quickly, Susan's volunteer experience exceeded her expectations. (So much so that she has recently joined the hospital's board of directors). She witnessed every day how the Child Life program makes a child's hospital stay a little bit easier, much less daunting and a whole lot more comfortable.

"I've seen the importance of my work with the children. I'm so impressed by the staff. The children are so dear. It's such a wonderful place." And with those sentiments, Tom and Susan decided to make a gift that would help children for many more years.

In establishing an endowment for the Child Life program and enhancing it through an estate gift, the Ballards have given a gift that continues to give. And how does Susan feel knowing that the lasting gift she and Tom made will continue to support the "wonderful work" of Child Life and the children from whom she draws inspiration? "It makes me very happy!"