As a successful romance author, illustrator and artist, she's left a bequest to St. Jude in her estate plans; she participates in St. Jude events, like the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer; and she's even written a fictional novel about a St. Jude patient.
Her relationship with St. Jude began when she was asked to participate on an advisory board to help raise awareness for the hospital among minority groups.
What prompted you to include St. Jude in your will?
Having worked with staff, patients and parents on my book project to benefit St. Jude I found the levels of commitment and dedication, as well as the stories of worried families, deeply moving. I have also been influenced by my growing knowledge of the extraordinary work St. Jude performs for children, including those who are treated from other countries, and my commitment was cemented the first time I visited.
At what point during your decision did you notify St. Jude of your bequest?
I was drafting my will with my attorney and made it known that I wanted to make that bequest. I actually never told St. Jude of my decision to put them in my will. I simply did so. Later, I responded to a mailing from St. Jude and indicated that I had included the hospital in my will. After that I got a call from my St. Jude representative, Rosemarie, and we had a lengthy phone conversation about my more than 10-year relationship with St. Jude and my intentions with my bequest.
What would you say to others who may be considering leaving St. Jude in their will?
I would point out that while there are so many charitable organizations worthy of attention and donations, I feel a dedication to the health and welfare of children to be of primary concern. They are completely dependent on us to ensure their safety, good health, education, etc. I know it's a cliché but children are our future — all children, everywhere.