Barbara and Thomas Hadaway’s careers took them far from their native Ohio to live in Virginia, Singapore, Chicago and Japan. Retiring after 27 years, they again put down roots in Ohio, which led them to form a special connection with the children of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
Q: What have you been doing since your retirement?
Thomas: After considering where we would live, we decided on 33 acres of farmland outside of LaGrange (near Oberlin College). We love it — it is beautiful, close to cultural opportunities and not far from Cleveland.
Q: How did your involvement with St. Jude develop?
Thomas: We purchased tickets for the St. Jude Dream Home, and in the process we became friends with one of the St. Jude staff, and he invited us on a special tour of the hospital. We met our St. Jude representative, Tiffany Kinzer, and we were so impressed with everything we saw, and our commitment grew from there.
Q: Was there anything about your visit to the hospital that surprised you?
Barbara: Seeing a little girl being pulled in a red wagon (instead of being pushed in a wheelchair) and the cheerfulness of the place — as sick as the children are, they are enjoying themselves.
Thomas: The cleanliness of the hospital and the level of doctors’ care were very impressive. Seeing all the things they had for the kids to do, from high-tech (entertainment) to the Teen Art Gallery and the Alphabet Wall. We were excited to come back (for the Danny Thomas – St. JudeSociety event) so we could see it again.
Q: Why did you choose to leave St. Jude in your will?
Thomas: We have no children and were considering our estate plans. We talked and did a lot of research, and decided we couldn’t think of a better place than St. Jude.
Barbara: There are two things that stood out for me: One, I like where the money is going, seeing how it is making a difference; and two, these kids deserve a break. If we can provide support that helps with the research and it saves only one kid, it is well spent. We talked with Tiffany and she was very helpful in explaining things to consider in making our decision. She also gave us informational brochures we could share with our attorney in drawing up the will.