Sharon Case recently reminded a friend that you cannot understand what someone else is going through until you experience the same thing yourself. As a cancer survivor, Case says that is why she became a steadfast supporter of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
The lifelong Texan was being treated for lung cancer six years ago, when she first saw a commercial on television about St. Jude. "I saw them telling about the children at St. Jude," she recalls. "I said, 'I know what those babies are going through.'"
It is especially significant to Sharon, 66, that patient families do not pay St. Jude for anything while their child is being treated. When she was diagnosed with cancer, she did not have insurance—and the local hospital was not going to allow her to have the surgery she required.
With the help of her oncologist, she was able to have the surgery, though to this day she does not know what he did to make it possible. She is very grateful for his help and she appreciates how much it means to families not to have to worry about money when their child's life is at stake.
Sharon is thankful that she made it through her treatment.
I don't know how I survived. I guess God said 'I'm not through with you yet.'
Since then, she has made it her mission to support the children of St. Jude.
Sharon, who worked as a bartender before she became ill, has established four Charitable Gift Annuities with the hospital. She also named St. Jude as the beneficiary of her estate.
"I haven't got any family. A gift annuity is the best thing I can do. Whatever I have left will go to St. Jude. So [with a CGA], the money is already there for St. Jude to use, and I draw some income."
Sharon says her main interest is St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. "I talk about it all the time," she says. She has made a point of taking St. Jude newsletters and publications to her local bank and beauty shop for others to see. "I just try to get the word out," she says.