Patient with rare disease donates her IRA distribution.
“One of the biggest reasons I support National Jewish Health with my IRA required minimum distribution is because as a former nurse, I love that they teach doctors from other hospitals and practices how to treat unique illnesses like the one I have,” Martha Crothers said.
Martha has a non-contagious condition related to tuberculosis called nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM). There are more than 200 species of NTM that can be found in soil and water, including from shower heads and other places producing water vapor. Although the organisms can infect skin and other body parts, they most commonly infect the lungs. National Jewish Health is a leader in the research and treatment of this condition, which can be fatal, and is very difficult to treat.
“If it wasn’t for National Jewish Health, I’d be on oxygen 24/7…or worse,” Martha said. “Now my NTM is mostly in remission because of proper care since diagnosis and a new medication I began taking in April of 2019. Not only do the physicians and researchers at National Jewish Health know how to treat NTM, they are working toward a cure.”
Martha understands the approach her doctors and nurses take toward NTM is unparalleled. She appreciates that they generously share their knowledge with physicians outside National Jewish Health, training them in the diagnosis and treatment of the disease through a special residency program and yearly conferences. They also have classes that help patients and their families fully understand the diagnosis, treatment plan and desired outcome.
“As an RN in the U.S. Navy, at various hospitals and in a school, I rarely saw patients receive the level of detailed information that National Jewish Health provides its patients and their families,” she said. “I want everyone who receives an NTM diagnosis to receive this level of care and education.”
Martha has friends and family who have been diagnosed with NTM, but did not fare as well, despite going to other prestigious institutions for care. Now when she meets a person with breathing problems or any pulmonologist, she tells them about National Jewish Health. She is sure to explain that the trip to Denver is made easy by patient ambassadors who help coordinate visits and provide travel resources, and a benefits verification team that ensures patients are aware of coverage and assistance options before arriving in Denver. This ensures everything runs smoothly when in Denver and the focus remains on diagnosis and care.
To show their appreciation, Martha and her husband, Charles, have given cash gifts to the hospital over the years, and have now decided to easily increase their current donation level and lessen their tax burden by donating through their IRA.
"The person who does our taxes pointed out that it made more sense to donate our required minimum distribution to charity rather than pay taxes on it," Martha explained. "We decided to give it to National Jewish Health. It is nice knowing we are supporting the hospital sufficiently, and seeing the impact our gifts make."