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Gift Planning

From a Mother

...and Isabella today

...and Isabella today

By Sylvia Hernandez

After numerous headaches, vomiting, blurred vision and pain, we headed to the small clinic where our baby girl would get her first of many scans—CT, MRI—all too numerous to count. It was raining that day, I was scared and she must have sensed it. As we drove, she said, "Mommy, I'm not afraid of dying."

Tears filled my eyes and sadness overcame me. "What made you say that, baby?" I asked, looking at her through the rearview mirror.

"God talks to me," she replied.

It was the first of many conversations that would challenge my faith. We danced in the waiting room, I held her tightly and people must have thought we were crazy. Her long, curly dark hair swung side to side against the back of her little schoolgirl uniform. She looked so cute. She had just started pre-K in Wichita. I was so proud to be her mommy.

A Life-Altering Phone Call
We drove home, got settled in and, somehow, I decided not to worry. She said she felt tired so she got ready for a nap. Then the phone rang. The pediatrician had to repeat himself. "Take her to the ER. I'll meet you there. We found a mass in her brain."

I walked outside our apartment and fell to the ground, holding my head, crying with so much sorrow and fear. The thoughts raced: How am I going to tell her dad? What do I do?

I got him on the phone and the sound he made I will never forget: "No, no, no." I called my sister, a physician. "I'm on my way," she said.

We headed to the local emergency room and my baby was admitted to the hospital. I began my search for a hospital that could help her and when I found Children's Mercy, I also found one of the best neurosurgeons.

Finding Peace at Children's Mercy
We made our way to Kansas City, a huge caravan of people who absolutely adored our little girl. I'll never forget the drive. I'll never forget the overwhelming sense of peace that came over me when we pulled up to Children's Mercy.

From the outside, Children's Mercy appeared to be the right place, from the musical clock in the front circle drive to the red rocket parking level. Inside, there were the friendly volunteers and staff who greeted us. The same feeling of peace calmed me over and over and over again as we walked these halls and spent many nights and days here

After 18 months and more than 300 visits/appointments and inpatient days, I can still say, it's the right place. Her doctors, nurses, and many other staff and volunteers partnered with us, respected us, cried with us and shared in our joys. They were real. They were committed to be on our journey. I will never forget that!

Yes, kids and families lose battles with cancer—even some with the same diagnosis as my baby (medulloblastoma), but hope is real at Children's Mercy. I saw it in the faces of the people who cared for her and our family night after night. People give 110 percent because the patients and families are No. 1.

Returning the Favor
Today, I am one of the team members at Children's Mercy. I am one of those people that get to give 110 percent for patients and families. I understand deeply what the care and support can do for a patient and family. I am dedicated to our mission—I felt it, it's real.

It is such a big part of our daughter's story and our family history. Isabella loves this place. Sometimes she'll ask me, "Is Children's Mercy No. 1?"

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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 give to Children's Mercy, a nonprofit corporation currently located at Kansas City, MO, or its successor thereto, ______________ [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 potential 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 may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. 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 may qualify for a federal income tax charitable deduction when you itemize. 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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