A Big Heart for St. Jude

One donor honors her children by supporting the kids of St. Jude.

By Kerry Healy

Natalie Charach and Erika Rudd

Natalie Charach (right) and her St. Jude representative, Erika Rudd

Natalie Charach has a big personality and a heart to match.

“I am 92 years old, and I’m going to speak my piece,” she declares.

This lively lady has great compassion for the patients and families of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. With the help of her St. Jude representative, Erika Rudd, Natalie recently found a way to honor her son and late daughter by naming a playroom in an inpatient unit of the Kay Research and Care Center at St. Jude.

“I thank God I was able to do that,” Natalie says. “I know my support is going to help the patients and the research, and I’m very proud of that.”

Natalie’s late husband, Manny, helped introduce Japanese consumer goods to Americans by helping rebrand the Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. into Panasonic, now a worldwide leader in consumer electronics.

The couple included St. Jude in their long-range financial plans. But after Manny’s death, Natalie made a slight change in timing. There is a Yiddish word she recalls that perfectly captures her feelings. “I wanted to give now because I wanted the nachas (pleasure and satisfaction) of seeing the good St. Jude did for the children,” she says.

 The memory of helping someone in need fuels Natalie’s passion for supporting St. Jude patients and families.

When her daughter, Janice, was battling cancer as an adult, Natalie encountered a man in the hospital whose wife was dying from cancer. Natalie was able to provide assistance. The impact of that support is forever etched in her memory.

“There was so much sadness in his life and on top of that — financial problems,” Natalie says. “I was glad I could help.”

Sadly, cancer claimed Janice’s life a year later at the age of 38. Natalie’s son, Jeff, is a cancer survivor.

“Both my children, being talented artists, loved color and play,” Natalie says. “My son loves children, and he is so happy that I named the playroom in honor of him and his sister.”

In supporting St. Jude, Natalie has found kindred spirits.

“Everyone cares there. I feel like I am part of a family,” she says. “You are never alone when you are part of St. Jude.”

Learn how to include St. Jude in your long-term financial plans: Call 1-800-910-3188 or email giftplanning@stjude.org.

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