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The Gift of Better Health

Arlington Heights couple aim to pay it forward

Paying it forward is an important way to live for Pat Makeever. That is why when she and her late husband, Dave, created a charitable gift annuity benefiting Northwest Community Healthcare, they thought about the gifts of compassion, safety, comfort and health that the hospital represented to them for more than 50 years.

Because the annuity allowed them to make a charitable gift, reduce their taxes and receive payments for the rest of their lives, it was the choice that answered all their needs.

Dave and Pat moved to Arlington Heights from Evanston in 1958. Their daughter, Sue, was an infant, and their son, Dan, was born two years later. When NCH opened in December 1959, it quickly became their go-to for healthcare and emergencies.

And with two young children, emergencies popped up all too often. Shortly after NCH opened, Sue and a friend were jumping up and down in the house, when Sue fell and hit her head on a table.

"Here was my little girl; her teeth had gone through her lower lip," recalls Pat. Pat and Dave rushed her to NCH and knew that they were in the right place.

Dan, the family athlete, experienced the strains and stresses that are part of youth sports, and the family visited the hospital regularly over the years.

As time passed, their health needs grew more serious. Pat eventually required two knee replacements. In 1993, she felt healthy but had "odd little symptoms," so she saw her doctor. Tests revealed almost complete blockage of a main artery, and open-heart surgery was performed the same day.

For Dave, knowing that Pat was receiving excellent healthcare by experienced physicians with the latest technology close to home was a major relief. It was for Pat, too.

"I really felt my life was saved by NCH," Pat says, noting her father died prematurely of a massive cerebral hemorrhage and "I could have had the same thing happen to me."

Then there was the time that Dave experienced such intense pain from a gallbladder attack in the middle of one night that he asked Pat to take him to the hospital. When she did, and someone suggested he might want to see a specialist at another hospital, he and Pat declined. Dave's doctor, the one he trusted, was at NCH and Dave wanted to be there too.

"It is very comforting to know we have all these specialists right at hand," she explains.

NCH "is not only a wonderful institution as it is, but it also does so much charity work, and partners with other organizations," says Pat. Helping the hospital "seems like a really good way to help" our community, she adds. Pat and Dave supported causes important to them for many years. After Dave passed away last spring, Pat decided she needed to narrow her focus to just a few gifts. Making choices was very hard, she says, but you just have to pick the things that mean the most to you.

NCH continues to be a top charitable choice for Pat. It is among one of the few remaining independent hospitals in this region, and Pat feels confident having healthcare decisions made right here in the community. For Pat and her family, NCH is always on the cutting edge with new equipment and new technology.

The Makeevers have not only made a financial impact on NCH, but they also served on a committee to encourage friends and family to support NCH. For Pat, drawing more community leaders to the hospital's team "is the right thing to do."

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Last Updated 04/10/2009