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Gift Planning

Helping a Tiny Heart Find Its Pace

Jagan HillsJagan Hills has three older brothers, so during his two-month stay in the Children's Mercy Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), there were times when his parents needed to leave his bedside for a night to attend to other family matters.

But they knew Jagan was receiving excellent care, so Sandy Hills and Travis Sorenson of Olathe said they could rest easy for the brief periods when neither one could be at the hospital.

"There wasn't a night that we couldn't sleep because we were concerned about the care Jagan was receiving," Sandy says. "We felt that the staff members were our advocates. The doctors, the nurses, the parent support groups and everyone involved make you feel like you have your own little world within Children's Mercy."

Three weeks before Jagan was born, his parents learned that a chamber of his heart was enlarged because of critical aortic stenosis, which involves a narrowing in the opening of the aortic valve. The heart enlarges because it has to pump harder to force blood through the narrowed valve.

Jagan was delivered on April 12, 2012 in the Children's Mercy Fetal Health Center, and on his second day of life, pediatric cardiologist Karina Carlson, M.D., performed a procedure called balloon valvuloplasty, where a catheter with a balloon is inserted to the narrowed area and inflated to stretch the valve and allow greater blood flow. With a wider valve opening, the heart doesn't have to pump as hard and the chamber can shrink to a more normal size.

Jagan's aortic valve was widened successfully, but his heart chamber, specifically the left ventricle, remained enlarged and very weak.

"That was what kept him in the hospital so long," Dr. Carlson says.

At that point, Jagan's parents had to face the possibility of heart surgery or even a transplant. Ultimately, the Children's Mercy cardiac team decided against surgery and recommended that Jagan's heart be allowed to get better on its own.

"It was a waiting game," Sandy says. "We just had to watch and see. We didn't know what we were up against, but we felt like the doctors gave us the knowledge we needed and made us feel comfortable with our options. If we had questions, they were answered."

Fortunately, after two months in the NICU, Jagan was well enough to go home. In January, his heart recovered to normal strength of contraction, enabling him to start coming off medications.

"It was a slow process, but Jagan is getting along well," Sandy says. "Children's Mercy did wonderful things for him, from his delivery in the Fetal Health Center, to his stay in the NICU, to his follow-up care."

To learn how you can support Children's Mercy and lifesaving care for kids like Jagan, please contact Phil Watson at (816) 701-4339 or

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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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