Making a difference in the lives of school-age patients

Making a Difference in the Lives of School-age Patients – Gratitude Stories

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Christine Anninos and Katie Wallace
Christine Anninos (left), education specialist, and Katie Wallace (right), child life coordinator at the Hospital School Program at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

Over four decades ago, Albert Tucker and his wife, Betty, who worked side-by-side for many years running a successful business in Washington, D.C., decided it was time to do some estate planning for their retirement. So, they called their attorney, Nicholas S. McConnell, to brainstorm strategies for putting their hard-earned assets to good use.

“Al and Betty were generous individuals,” Nick explains. “Beyond providing for their family, they wanted to share their gratitude for the community that supported them and their business.”

Nick and other attorneys at his firm went to work helping the Tuckers to accomplish their goals. Establishing the Albert L. Tucker and Elizabeth T. Tucker Foundation was part of the plan.

“Al and Betty were interested in supporting local hospitals involved in cancer research with an emphasis on pediatric patients, as well as caring for all individuals confronting cancer and other chronic illnesses,” says Nick. “Their wishes provided the focus for the foundation from the start.”

Today, the foundation continues to make an impact under the direction of a Board of Trustees that includes Nick and his wife Nan. One initiative that is near and dear to their hearts is the Hospital School Program at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. 

The Hospital School Program is an integral part of the care provided to school-aged patients at MedStar Georgetown. The program’s education specialist, Christine (Chris) Anninos, and her team help kids continue their education while in the hospital. They work closely with families, medical teams, child life specialists, school representatives, and educators to ensure appropriate plans are in place for each patient’s return to school, participation in homebound instruction, early intervention services, and much more. 

In 2009, the Tucker Foundation made a philanthropic gift to support a portion of the program’s education specialist position. During site visits over the next several years, they were so impressed by the effectiveness of the program, they voted to provide full philanthropic support for the position. 

“We are a small foundation, so we look for places where we can have an impact. We have seen the difference Chris and her team make in the lives of these brave young patients undergoing extended treatment,” Nan notes. “It is important for them to know they are keeping pace with their peers.” 

“This is a great program. We love to see the progress kids make advancing their education while they are being treated in the hospital,” Nick adds. “We are truly grateful to Chris and the staff at MedStar Georgetown for the work they do. Through the foundation’s support of the Hospital School Program, Al and Betty Tucker continue not simply to give back, but to make a real difference—just as they wished.” 

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