Featured Patient Stories of Gratitude | MedStar Health

Gratitude is expressed all across MedStar Health-from our friends, families, caregivers, community, and patients. Thank you for sharing your experience.

A living and learning gift

Ana Barac consults with colleages in a clinical setting.
When philanthropist Genevieve Murphy decided to honor her late husband J.D. Murphy Jr. in a truly meaningful way, she immediately thought of MedStar Washington Hospital Center for a variety of reasons.

“I am making this living and learning gift in honor of my late husband, J.D. Murphy Jr., who was a grateful MedStar Washington Hospital Center heart patient. J.D. maintained strong ties to the hospital as a board member, a past chair of the philanthropy committee, and friend to many nurses and doctors.” she says.

As the founder and president of an international information technology company, he had a lifelong love of learning. “He knew that even the most sophisticated technology was only as good as the people who were trained to use it,” she adds.

All of this led to the establishment of the J.D. Murphy Jr. Cardio-Oncology Fellowship at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, funded by a generous $500,000 gift.

The hospital’s cardio-oncology program, founded by Ana Barac, MD, was the first in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., region to offer specialized cardiac care for patients with cancer. It focuses on protecting the hearts of patients undergoing cancer treatment and improving overall cancer survivorship.

“Today’s cancer treatments help patients live longer, healthier lives, but some have unintended cardiovascular side effects for those with heart disease or who are at risk for the condition. Our goal is to treat and protect the heart at every stage of cancer treatment and beyond, and shepherd each patient through successful treatment,” said Dr. Barac. “We are so grateful for this generous gift, as we now have a fellowship to help educate and train the leaders of tomorrow, in promoting the cardiovascular health in patients with cancer.”


A loving tribute to a lifetime together

Brent and Margaret Robrecht

In 2017 Brent Robrecht’s health, unfortunately, began to fail. For the next several years, his wife, Margaret, with the support of their children and others, was always by his side looking after him and making sure he was comfortable. “Initially he had slight dementia along with problems with his knees that made it difficult for him to get around. When he could no longer stand, we got him a wheelchair, which made things a little easier, but he continued to decline and by the beginning of this year he had completely lost his mobility,” she says.

When it became clear that Brent was not going to improve, his healthcare providers recommended hospice services to not only keep him comfortable but to assist his family in caring for him. They turned to the Hospice of St. Mary’s, which is part of MedStar Health.

In July of 2021, Brent passed away at the age of 93. Margaret, now 88 years old, their 6 children and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren laid him to rest after a simple mass at St. Francis Xavier chapel. “We spent 66 years together and raised a wonderful family,” Margaret says. “And saying goodbye to him was hard for all of us. It was wonderful to have hospice staff to turn to. Everyone was so respectful, calming, and reassuring…we knew they were doing everything possible to ensure Brent was peaceful during his final days.”

To express their gratitude for the loving care hospice staff provided to Brent, the family made a philanthropic gift to Hospice of St. Mary’s in his memory. In the letter Margaret sent with her gift she said, “I wish I could write flowery prose to tell you what a blessing the staff was when we called…God bless you and yours for all you do. With love and prayers, Margaret and family.”

A gift to share

Photo of grateful patient Greg Stack
Cancer survivor Greg Stack has had a number of health issues over the years. During his frequent visits to MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, he often noted the lines of people who relied on public transportation to get to and from the hospital.

So, when the pandemic shut most services down, his thoughts immediately turned to the many individuals who could not put off getting needed medical care. He thought about his father, Edward, who lives in New Jersey and is on dialysis. “I became concerned about him getting to and from his appointments safely,” Greg says.

He decided to do something about it while drawing up his will during the downtime. “I wanted to make sure that people who could not afford transportation to and from the hospital for their doctor’s visits had the means to do so,” he says. “Working with the philanthropy team at the hospital, I learned that I could do this through my estate.”

Greg chose to designate a gift to the Patient Sharing Fund at MedStar Georgetown, which provides emergency and temporary non-medical assistance to patients and their families. It covers expenses such as transportation, hotel fees, and food for families during a patient’s stay, the cost of temporary medications, assistance with housing, utilities, and childcare expenses, and partial payment of funeral and burial expenses.

“I have been very fortunate and wanted to show my gratitude to MedStar Georgetown for the wonderful care I have received over the years,” Greg says. “Through my gift to the MedStar Georgetown Patient Sharing Fund, I hope to help ensure that more patients can access the care they need.”


Receiving a transplant and making an impact

When Gary Seiden received a life-altering diagnosis, he underwent a full liver transplant at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital. After the procedure, Gary was grateful for the way he was treated by the care team at MedStar Georgetown and was looking for a way to make an impact in the community. Working with his healthcare team, Gary made a philanthropic gift that has had a meaningful and direct impact in the lives of those needing transplants

Showing gratitude and achieving great things

Gary Heil has always been thankful to work with good people who achieve great things at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center. This gratitude took on a whole new meaning when his nephew was treated in the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Gary was grateful he was able to make a positive difference in the lives of others through his philanthropic partnership.

Share your story

Do you want to share your story expressing gratitude to a MedStar Health provider?

We invite you to participate in our culture of gratitude. Share your story. 

Read More Patient Stories