Most people may not think to name Texas Children's Hospital as the beneficiary of an IRA. After spending many hours at Texas Children's with his granddaughter, however, Jackson O. Wilson did.
Jack Wilson's 9-year-old granddaughter, Emily Otto, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) almost immediately after she was born and spent her first three months of life in Texas Children's Neonatal ICU.
"Emily's been in and out of Texas Children's ever since," Mr. Wilson says. "I've been up there with her numerous times and seen the good work they do. It was an easy decision to support Texas Children's."
Mr. Wilson and his late wife, who had severe multiple sclerosis (MS), retired to Houston three years prior to her death in 2005. He recently remarried, and his wife, Marion, has become just as doting a grandmother to his grandchildren as she is to her own.
Mr. Wilson has often stayed at the hospital with his lively granddaughter "to give her mom a break." This is particularly helpful when Emily is hospitalized for her annual "tune-up," when she spends up to 10 days as an inpatient receiving intravenous antiviral treatment for chronic severe infection that most CF patients experience.
"I don't know that I would ever have really seen all the good work Texas Children's does if I hadn't spent so much time there with Emily," he says. "She knows everyone on the pulmonary floor and they know her, and her doctor is great; she and Emily have a very nice rapport." Emily's physician is Dr. Khoulood Fakhoury, pediatric pulmonologist in Texas Children's Cystic Fibrosis Clinic and assistant professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine.
As an accountant for more than 30 years, including many years as a controller for Reynolds/Alcoa, Mr. Wilson knows the advantages of tax-deferred savings vehicles. "My late wife and I both had Roth IRAs," he explains. "After she died, I combined them and designated 50 percent of the combined IRAs to The Maxine Mesinger MS Clinic at Baylor College of Medicine and 50 percent to Texas Children's cystic fibrosis research. As for the mechanics, it was easy to do online on my financial service provider's Web site."
Physician-scientists at Texas Children's are on the leading edge of research into new therapies for cystic fibrosis, including developing more effective drugs as well as gene therapies that offer great hope for a cure. Gifts like Mr. Wilson's are helping make all this possible.
"You know," Mr. Wilson adds, "I like what Joe Jamail [Houston attorney renowned for his philanthropy] said: 'There are no vaults where I'm headed, up or down.' When you think of that, it's easy to give to a worthy cause."