Why I Give: Eleanor Evangelides
My husband Mike and I give because, following the death of our son Gus at 21 months from a brain tumor, we made a commitment to help make this hospital the best it could possibly be. During Gus’ treatment, we felt so blessed that we didn’t have to travel for care—there were great physicians, nurses and staff right here in Chicago. The team was wonderful; they just needed more arrows in the quiver.
So after Gus died, we established the Gus Foundation to raise money for the Neuro-Oncology program by hosting a variety of events including The Corporate Challenge, golf outings and our junior board’s (the Young Associates Board) Run for Gus 5K Run/Walk every summer on Chicago’s lakefront. After 12 years, we passed the baton to the Young Associates Board, and it continues to thrive. Our two other children, Olivia and Noah, participate every year at the Run for Gus.
What started with the creation of a family foundation has evolved into participation as board members of the hospital. I serve on the Lurie Children’s Foundation Board and Mike serves on both the Medical Center Board and the Foundation Board.
The Gus Foundation endowed both a fellowship and a chair in Neuro-Oncology. These positions include protected time for our scientists to focus on discovering the causes of and better treatments for brain tumors. In the current for every child campaign, our contributions will bolster those two endowments to increase their impact.
We’ve focused our giving on Lurie Children’s because we wanted the best treatments to be available right here in Chicago. Knowing Lurie Children’s involvement in many national clinical trials, we knew our research will be shared with other institutions around the country. And in return, our physician scientists, and more importantly the patients they serve, will have access to the latest and best research and treatment available.
As a new experience for me after years of involvement at Lurie Children’s, I’m now also volunteering once a week in the infant-toddler playroom in the Family Life Center or snuggling a baby at crib-side. It’s my favorite time of the week!
As Mike says, there is no cause or place more worthy than Lurie Children’s.