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Gift Planning

Healing What Love Can't Fix: Susanne Teel & The Clayton Family

Susanne came to Children's Mercy when her infant son Bryan couldn't digest food.

Susanne came to Children's Mercy when her infant son Bryan couldn't digest food.

"Bryan had five good days after he was born," Susanne Teel says, remembering the struggle to find out what was wrong with her son.

"They referred to him as a failure-to-thrive baby. That's the worst thing a mother can hear."

Even though Susanne went through this in the mid-'70s, the details are as clear as ever.

"I'll never forget trying and trying to find out what was wrong with Bryan," she says. "He couldn't digest his food and wasn't gaining weight the way he should have been."

After rushing Bryan to different specialists and pediatricians, someone finally recommended Children's Mercy. It was a life-changing moment.

"I can't explain it—words aren't enough," she says. "Gratitude, appreciation…Children's Mercy found the answer. They were able to heal what love can't fix."

At Children's Mercy, Susanne met two renowned surgeons: Keith Ashcraft, M.D., and Thomas Holder, M.D. They performed the surgery Bryan needed.

The procedure was called fundoplication and involved wrapping the upper part of the stomach around the lower end of the esophagus to treat what was known as GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease.

"If you've been a parent and tried so hard to find out what was wrong with your child, you know what Children's Mercy is about," Susanne says. "I couldn't find the answer, but Children's Mercy could."

Saying Thank You
Susanne shows her appreciation in a meaningful way. She's part of Children's Mercy's Legacy Honor Roll and has named the hospital as a charitable beneficiary in her trust. "When your child is saved, what better way is there to say thank you for your blessing? I felt, please let me help others as I've been helped," she says.

Referral Saves Friends' Daughter
Years later, Susanne helped her close family friends by referring them to the hospital when they needed help—and answers—for their child. Jim and Jennifer Clayton adopted their daughter Olivia from China when she was 15 months old. They knew she had some things to be worked through, but nothing prepared them for the ordeal they would face as their baby girl grew up. They were powerless and scared for Olivia.

Jim and Jennifer Clayton with their children, Ben and Olivia.

Jim and Jennifer Clayton with their children, Ben and Olivia.

"Olivia experienced uncontrollable rages," Jennifer says. "When she was 5, my father called Susanne and said, ‘We need help, she's disappearing before our eyes.'

"We had an appointment at Children's Mercy the next day."

The Claytons' experience was similar to Susanne's: They searched fruitlessly for answers until they found Children's Mercy.

Olivia was diagnosed and treated for non-specified mood disorder. Within two weeks of being prescribed medication by Dr. Catherine Madden, her rages completely stopped.

"Our daughter's life was literally on the line," Jennifer says. "Children's Mercy gave us our little girl back."

"It was such a roller coaster," Jennifer's husband, Jim, says. "We would see windows of our daughter's loving personality, then they would slam shut.

"We prayed about it and Children's Mercy answered our prayers."

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A charitable bequest is one or two sentences in your will or living trust that leave to Children's Mercy a specific item, an amount of money, a gift contingent upon certain events or a percentage of your estate.

an individual or organization designated to receive benefits or funds under a will or other contract, such as an insurance policy, trust or retirement plan

"I, [name], of [city, state, ZIP], give, devise and bequeath to Children's Mercy [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and purpose."

able to be changed or cancelled

A revocable living trust is set up during your lifetime and can be revoked at any time before death. They allow assets held in the trust to pass directly to beneficiaries without probate court proceedings and can also reduce federal estate taxes.

cannot be changed or cancelled

tax on gifts generally paid by the person making the gift rather than the recipient

the original value of an asset, such as stock, before its appreciation or depreciation

the growth in value of an asset like stock or real estate since the original purchase

the price a willing buyer and willing seller can agree on

The person receiving the gift annuity payments.

the part of an estate left after debts, taxes and specific bequests have been paid

a written and properly witnessed legal change to a will

the person named in a will to manage the estate, collect the property, pay any debt, and distribute property according to the will

A donor advised fund is an account that you set up but which is managed by a nonprofit organization. You contribute to the account, which grows tax-free. You can recommend how much (and how often) you want to distribute money from that fund to Children's Mercy or other charities. You cannot direct the gifts.

An endowed gift can create a new endowment or add to an existing endowment. The principal of the endowment is invested and a portion of the principal’s earnings are used each year to support our mission.

Tax on the growth in value of an asset—such as real estate or stock—since its original purchase.

Securities, real estate, or any other property having a fair market value greater than its original purchase price.

Real estate can be a personal residence, vacation home, timeshare property, farm, commercial property or undeveloped land.

A charitable remainder trust provides you or other named individuals income each year for life or a period not exceeding 20 years from assets you give to the trust you create.

You give assets to a trust that pays our organization set payments for a number of years, which you choose. The longer the length of time, the better the gift tax savings to you. When the term is up, the remaining trust assets go to you, your family or other beneficiaries you select. This is an excellent way to transfer property to family members at a minimal cost.

You fund this type of trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. You can also make additional gifts; each one also qualifies for a tax deduction. The trust pays you, each year, a variable amount based on a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the trust assets. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Children's Mercy as a lump sum.

You fund this trust with cash or appreciated assets—and receive an immediate federal income tax charitable deduction. Each year the trust pays you or another named individual the same dollar amount you choose at the start. When the trust terminates, the remaining principal goes to Children's Mercy as a lump sum.

A beneficiary designation clearly identifies how specific assets will be distributed after your death.

A charitable gift annuity involves a simple contract between you and Children's Mercy where you agree to make a gift to Children's Mercy and we, in return, agree to pay you (and someone else, if you choose) a fixed amount each year for the rest of your life.

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