Linda Schultz still gets a special look in her eye when she talks about her daughter, Stacey – a little sad, a lot proud. She remembers her daughter as a spitfire who loved to sing, joke around and go to bowling league with her dad. She had a fierce love of her family and animals, and she’d go out of her way to make someone feel special.
“She was a tough kid. I think “grit” is the perfect word to describe what she had,” said Linda.
Stacey was diagnosed with leukemia in 1997, and went through two difficult years of treatment, including bone marrow transplant, at the University of Minnesota before passing away in 1999.
“I miss her every day,” Linda said. One of her most vivid memories of Stacey speaks to her selflessness – even in the midst of cancer treatment. “The hospital used to have these little game shows kids could do to earn prizes from the gift shop… it was my birthday so without telling me, she had someone take her down to the gift shop and bought me a set of little lotion bottles with bows on them. I tear up when I think about that. Here she is in the hospital and she’s thinking about how to get me something for my birthday.”
After Stacey passed away, Linda buried herself in her work as a real estate agent. But 10 years ago, Linda started thinking she wanted to do something more to honor her daughter. She met with Dr. John Wagner, who was Stacey’s doctor and who is currently Founding Director of the Institute of Cell, Gene and Immunotherapies. Dr. Wagner told her how much of an impact research has already had on kids with leukemia, and how many more breakthroughs would be possible if researchers just had the funding. That’s when Linda started Stacey’s Hope, a fund at Children’s Cancer Research Fund.
“I wanted to honor my daughter, but I really wanted to fund research to try to cure this horrible disease,” Linda said.
Stacey’s Fund has raised $66,923 so far, and Linda’s goal is to make it to $1 million. Most of that amount is personal gifts from Linda and her colleagues in real estate.
Leaving A Legacy For Stacey
Earlier this year, Linda took her dedication to funding research one step further. She and a colleague frequently lead seminars for their clients about how to put together a trust, mainly to avoid the mess and confusion that comes when a family member passes away without a clear plan for their finances. This got Linda thinking about her own legacy – Stacey was her only child, and it is important to Linda that she leave something in memory of her daughter. She decided to make a planned gift to CCRF, naming them as a beneficiary in her will.
“I really enjoy what I do, and I’ve worked hard all my life to build this nest egg, and I thought, this is what I’ll do with it,” said Linda. “I remember Stacey would come with me to the office, and when she was especially tired, she’d lie down under my desk or on a couch in an open house. We spent a lot of time together at work so it seems fitting that I could pay forward what I’ve earned in my career to honor her.”
Linda says some of the sharp pains of losing Stacey have faded over time, but she still thinks about what could have been if her daughter had survived. Many of her clients are moving to be closer to their kids and grandkids, and Linda says it’s hard not to think about what it would be like to have that herself. But she says it’s healing to know her legacy will make the journey easier for kids like Stacey in the future.
“It helps me to help others,” Linda said. “CCRF is a wonderful organization, and it really is focused on research. It’s heartbreaking to watch what these kids have to go through. What a wonderful legacy to leave, to be able to put that money to use finding a cure.”
Interested in exploring a planned gift?
It doesn’t matter what your income is, your age, or what assets you have: anyone can make a planned gift. Whether you’re just starting this conversation, or you already have a plan in place, we would love to hear your story, discuss your wishes for your legacy and ensure your personal goals are being met.
If you’re interested in learning more about leaving a legacy gift that will impact the lives of children for decades to come, please contact Kenna Dooley, Director of Development and Donor Relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 952-224-8486.