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A Special Birthday Legacy

A Special Birthday Legacy

Kay Gaines, a retired educator, wasn't sure how to celebrate her milestone 80th birthday that was quickly approaching. She heard stories about people who did various activities such as sampling 70 restaurants for their 70th birthday or checking off a bucket list idea, but none of those seemed to appeal to her. She continued to brainstorm until she decided to host a luncheon and invite 20 of her closest friends. Between courses Kay decided to announce that there is no such thing as a "free lunch" and she asked her friends to help her compile a list of 80 book titles that would appeal to children ages 0 to 18. Kay decided she was going to donate 80 books to St. Louis Children's Hospital in honor of her 80th birthday.

While Kay never had children of her own, she clearly had a special place in her heart for kids. Two important families impacted her decision to donate to St. Louis Children's. A former colleague's child battled leukemia at age 2 and unfortunately did not survive. A neighbor's granddaughter was diagnosed with a football-sized tumor on her liver at age 6. She received treatment and a transplant at St. Louis Children's and is now a successful Purdue graduate living in Chicago. Both children and their families had a huge impact on Kay's life and why she wanted to give.

Fortunately, Kay's friends rose to the occasion and a list of 80 books was finalized. Some even solicited help from their own grandchildren to help develop a comprehensive list to cover the wide age range. Kay then calculated the amount to cover the cost of the books and made her gift.

Kay is not only a donor of literacy and children's books but is also a generous legacy donor, which means she made a gift through her estate plan supporting pediatric research. A gift to St. Louis Children's has been designated as part of Kay's trust, and she also donated a life insurance policy. Kay underwent several eye surgeries when she was a toddler and has directed her estate gifts to focus on pediatric research, with an emphasis on ophthalmology.

While Kay doesn't know what her plans are for her 90th birthday, she does look forward to attending various St. Louis Children's Hospital events where she can share the joy of celebrating a hospital that not only supports families but changes the lives of children when they need it most.