Paying It Forward: Elizabeth Collings Weekley Sutton
A child of the 1930s, Elizabeth Collings Weekley Sutton learned first hand the struggles and sacrifices of living on little income. As a small girl growing up in the depression, her father's only income was selling food from his garden on busy country roadsides. Elizabeth's mother occasionally earned money as a substitute teacher. When winter came, her parents burned wood in their coal furnace, smoking up the house and staining the walls. As her mother explained, coal was expensive, but new wallpaper was cheap.
And then, in 1936, her mother discovered that Elizabeth had developed a protrusion in her abdomen. With nowhere to turn, she took her little seven-year-old to Children's Mercy. The doctors diagnosed Elizabeth with a hernia, scheduled surgery, and told her parents that there would be no charge for their services. When Elizabeth was released, she and her mother wrote a letter to the surgeon, telling him how grateful they were for his care and inviting him to their home for a chicken dinner.
Now a retired school teacher, Elizabeth has dedicated her life to improving the lives of children and helping those in need. Elizabeth arranged a trust so that she can continue to help others even after she's gone. She named Children's Mercy a beneficiary of her trust as a "thank you" for helping her as a child and to help future children in need. In 2004, she arranged a Gift Annuity with Children's Mercy to make an even bigger difference. "I've read so much in the news about local children being hurt or mistreated," she explained, "and I feel so good knowing that many of them are taken to Children's Mercy for care."
Elizabeth's trust will help ensure that no child is ever turned away at Children's Mercy, regardless of the family's ability to pay. "Setting up my trust was a challenging process," Elizabeth said, "but the result has been extremely enjoyable. I feel so good knowing that after I'm gone, what I want done will be done."