Funding A Cure: Bob and Debbie Walker
After years of supporting the children's hospital in their former hometown of Tampa, Florida, Bob and Debbie Walker didn't miss a beat when they made the move to Kansas City in 1996. The couple made a gift of stock to Children's Mercy that first year in town and Debbie arranged a tour for her daughter's Girl Scout troop of the Ronald McDonald House located across the street from Children's Mercy.
A few years later, Bob and Debbie came to Children's Mercy for their own tour of the hospital. The Walkers met with Dr. George Gittes, Surgical Research Director for Children's Mercy and the Thomas Holder/Keith Ashcraft Chair in Pediatric Surgical Research. "During our tour," says Bob, "we got a real sense of the wonderful work that goes on at Children's Mercy every day. The passion and optimism we saw was nothing short of inspirational."
After learning about Dr. Gittes' work to cure diabetes, the Walkers began dedicating their stock gifts to his research. For several years now, Dr. Gittes' laboratory has benefited from the generosity of the Walkers. "The generous gifts from Bob and Debbie Walker," says Gittes, "have been a great catalyst to our laboratory's efforts to cure diabetic children."
For the Walkers, funding medical research furthers the impact of their donated dollars. "Research is very expensive and unfortunately, many people don't support it because it does not immediately help people," explains Debbie. "But it has the potential to help millions. Simply put, without research, you don't have cures."
The Walkers make gifts of appreciated stock, rather than cash, because it allows them to avoid capital gains tax. "It just makes sense to gift stock," says Bob. "Debbie and I would not be able to keep the full value of those stocks, but Children's Mercy can. Most importantly, it makes you feel like you're a part of the wonderful success that occurs at Children's Mercy everyday."