Georgina Bonin's steady stream of annual gifts to National Jewish Health stem from something beyond simple gratitude. True, National Jewish Health saved her life in 1954 when she was a young woman with an advanced case of tuberculosis. Beyond that, however, is a personal history fundamentally interwoven with National Jewish Health.
Georgina was not even 30 years old when she contracted tuberculosis. She spent four years in state hospitals in Texas, where they were unable to stop the disease's deadly progression. Georgina remembers overhearing one of the Texas doctors question why they should send her to Denver instead of someone with a chance to live.
National Jewish Health doctors proved them wrong. Here, Georgina's condition slowly improved, although it would be another two years before she returned to Texas with her new husband. Today, Georgina recalls warmly the kindness of staff and patients and the long walk through the tunnel leading from her room to the hospital's newer buildings. "People think I'm sort of peculiar. When I say that the two years I spent at National Jewish Health were the happiest moments of my life, they don't understand," says Georgina in her soft Scottish-Texas accent. But, she points out, National Jewish Health not only saved her life but introduced her to the man she would marry and love for 40 wonderful years.
Every year since her discharge in 1956, Georgina and her husband Allan gave whatever they could afford to National Jewish Health, increasing it a bit each year. Since Allan's death in 1996, Georgina makes her gifts in his memory. "After all," she says with a smile, "we wouldn't have had a life together at all if it hadn't been for National Jewish Health."
Although Georgina gives cash now, she has learned that there is a way for her to do more by making her gifts with stock that isn't generating any income for her now. She says she doesn't understand too much about stocks, but her accountant tells her that it's an easy and smart transaction to make with double tax benefits, so she just might do that in the future. "Whatever it takes to help National Jewish Health, I'll do," she says.
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