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Every day, donors like you make gifts of all sizes to build a healthier future for children and expectant mothers. Your support makes our hospital a special place for our patients and families, and we are tremendously grateful.

NICU Parents Pay It Forward

Sue and Jon Duncan first experienced extraordinary health care at Stanford in 1979, when their daughter, Sara, was born prematurely and spent three months in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

The Duncans still recall the wonderful care their daughter received from neonatologist Philip Sunshine, MD, and his team. The couple also felt fortunate to have a strong support system of friends and family and understanding employers, which made it easier to cope with the stress of having a baby in the NICU. “We met other families during our daughter’s stay who were not so fortunate and saw firsthand the added burden this can place on NICU families,” say Sue and Jon.

Today, Sara is thriving and working as a social worker. When they revisited their estate and financial plans this year, Sue and Jon decided to include a planned gift to Packard Children’s Hospital from their individual retirement accounts. The funds will be used to create an endowment that will support NICU families who need financial assistance to pay for expenses such as gas, food, and hotel stays.

We are so grateful to all families who include a planned gift to our hospital in their estate plans. Thank you, Sue and Jon, for supporting our NICU families by giving them one less thing to worry about during a stressful time!

Dad Engages His Children in Giving to the Heart Center

Last summer Jay Stein and his daughter Sadie flew from Paradise Valley, Arizona, to Palo Alto. They stayed at their favorite hotel, watched movies, ordered in—and visited their friends at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford.

Jay has been making this trip to our hospital for years now—ever since Sadie had heart surgery with Frank Hanley, MD, the Lawrence Crowley, MD, Endowed Professor in Child Health, and Gabriel Amir, MD, PhD, at just 10 days old to treat a birth defect called tetralogy of Fallot.

“The care we received was amazing,” Jay says. “They truly saved Sadie’s life.”

Now 15, Sadie was back for her annual checkup, and Jay was pleased to hear good news. “She is here and healthy, and her heart is actually in perfect shape. They can’t believe how well it’s doing,” he says. “She will potentially never need anything else again—except appointments.”

That means Sadie can keep doing the activities she loves—lyrical and jazz dance, cheer, and swimming—and, for that, Jay is extremely grateful.

Wanting to help other children live their fullest lives, Jay recently donated $500,000 to support the Betty Irene Moore Children’s Heart Center at Packard Children’s. When the Steins return for Sadie’s next routine visit, they will see a plaque hanging in the newly named “Jay, Sadie, Asher, Mischa, and Tali Stein Waiting Room.” There is a reason Jay wanted the gift to be from him as well as Sadie and her triplet siblings.

“Like everything I do, hopefully they’ll learn a lesson from it,” says Jay, explaining that he is teaching his children the Jewish concept of “tzedakah” or charity. “I want them to understand this is the model and hope they’ll continue to do this. If they do, the world will be a better place.”

Thank you, Jay, for helping heart patients and their families receive the best possible care and for raising the next generation of philanthropists.

Thanks to Good Planning, One Couple Is Making an Impact

We’re grateful to Valerie and Robert Fox for planning ahead and including Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in their estate plans.

Valerie and Robert tragically passed away from COVID-19 earlier this year. Their daughter Lorraine Fox says they “were the most living individuals you would ever meet.”

Fortunately, Valerie and Robert had prepared their finances years in advance to provide for their family and the charitable causes they sacred most for, including Packard Children’s Hospital.

“You want to do good; you want to have a lasting impact,” says Lorraine, describing her parents’ thoughts on philanthropy.

Lorraine, a professional wealth adviser, helped her parents set up their trust in a way that would both take care of their family and benefit charity. At the end of the daughters’ lives, the remainder of the Foxes’ estate will go to their chosen philanthropic causes.

The Foxes decided to fund an endowment for pediatric oncology research at Packard Children’s Hospital. It was a win-win since they were committed to supporting cancer research and wanted to make a gift to support children’s health. Pediatrics was where they felt they could make the biggest difference, says Lorraine.

“It is really about helping the next generation survive and thrive.”

If you want to learn about how to include Packard Children’s Hospital in your estate plan, contact our Gift Planning team at

Bringing the Latest Technology to Neurosurgery Patients

We are grateful to Bala and Raju Vegesna for their donation to advance Packard Children’s Hospital’s care for children with complex brain vascular conditions.

Bala and Raju’s twin son and daughter are now 19 years old. But as they grew up, they went to Packard Children’s for routine checkups. “The treatment we had at Packard Children’s was excellent and world-class,” says Raju.

During one such visit, Bala and Raju met Gerald Grant, MD, FACS, chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Packard Children’s Hospital, and were impressed with his work. Over the years, the couple continued to follow progress being made by Grant and his team in treating complex neurovascular conditions. “We think this work is very important,” Raju says. “And a lot more can be done.”

Grant, the Botha Chan Endowed Professor, and his team already use powerful MRI scanners to understand the anatomy of the brain. However, the gift from Bala and Raju will fund an MRI physicist or scientist who will work side by side with clinicians and analyze conditions such as brain aneurysms more deeply by looking at their physiology and flow dynamics through MRI imaging.

For example, with the use of MRI imaging technology, doctors will be able to see the direction of blood flow or changes in blood flow velocity before and after a child undergoes brain surgery for a condition called arterio venous malformations (AVMs). Previously, the child would have needed a catheter angiogram, an invasive treatment that introduces added risk.

Thank you, Bala and Raju, for your generous gift to improve surgical outcomes for our patients.

Teen’s Bat Mitzvah Project Is Music to Our Ears

Thank you, Sophia, for using your bat mitzvah project to give back to the community! Sophia, 14, chose to raise awareness and money for the Music Therapy Program at Packard Children’s after learning about how staff helped a young patient and family friend named Andrew.

“I used to hear about his love for his iPad and how music lifted his spirits along with the spirits of his family, nurses, and doctors in the hospital,” Sophia says. “The song ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams was his favorite song, and it’s my life theme song, too.”

In memory of Andrew, Sophia has raised nearly $7,000 for the Music Therapy Program and brought many moments of joy to children in our hospital’s care.

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2021 edition of Packard Children’s News.