After receiving a brochure several years ago from The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital outlining the impact of charitable giving on heart and vascular research, Jo Oertli began to fully realize the importance of financially supporting Barnes-Jewish Hospital and its affiliates.
As Jo read the stories of patients whose lives were saved by skilled heart surgeons, she paused.
"My thoughts went back to long ago, when I was a little girl," she says. "It was Dec. 7, 1941, the day America entered the war following the attack on Pearl Harbor. In just a few weeks, my two older brothers enlisted; one chose the Marines, the other chose the Army. Throughout the war, my greatest fear was that they would be killed and I would never get to see them again. But I did. When the war finally ended, they returned safely—only to die of heart attacks some years later."
As Jo continued reading the brochure, she remembered other loved ones and friends, including three of her nephews, who died of heart disease and heart attacks.
It was at this point that her relationship with the Foundation began.
A Growing Passion for Research
Jo started her support with a charitable gift annuity at the Foundation designated for heart and vascular research. A charitable gift annuity is a simple contract that benefits both the donor and the recipient, whereby the donor receives a certain percentage of the original gift, based on the amount and the donor's age at the time of the gift. After the donor's lifetime, the remainder of the gift benefits the Foundation. Charitable gift annuities include a variety of tax benefits.
Jo's support of The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital continues to grow. Jo's husband, Fred, died in 2014 from the effects of Parkinson's disease. As a result, Jo is now focusing on Parkinson's disease research.
"What Barnes-Jewish has achieved in heart and vascular research is truly a wonderful gift to the many patients who have benefited from the hard work of dedicated doctors, the creation of lifesaving devices, and the support from so many generous, caring donors," Jo says. "This program has been an inspiration to me and now I'm supporting Parkinson's research in hopes that one day victims with this dreaded disease will be as fortunate as those who have survived deadly heart and vascular conditions because of research!"