Why I Give
Q: You’re a long-time supporter of St. Louis
Children’s Hospital and currently serve as a Foundation Board member. Why are you
so committed to the hospital?
Michelle: When I first started on the
board, my stomach was in knots when I walked in the hospital for meetings because
I would see all these children with health issues. But as I learned more about what
the hospital was doing for these little patients, I went through a transformation
and now I am comforted when I come to the hospital. I feel a great sense of satisfaction
knowing every patient who comes to Children’s Hospital is in the best hands in the
Q: What drew you to support the Children’s Discovery
Michelle: The research component interests
me. I believe in the collaborative approach among the many different medical and
research disciplines, the open-mindedness to innovative types of research that might
not otherwise be funded from traditional sources, the genetic expertise, and the
world-class competence and skill of Washington University physicians and researchers.
Q: You created an endowment for the Children’s
Discovery Institute Musculoskeletal Center. Why was this important to you?
Michelle: When I first was interested
in supporting the Children’s Discovery Institute, I asked Lee Fetter, the hospital
president, where the resources were most needed. At the time, he said it was the
Musculoskeletal Center where they focused on things like scoliosis. It was the perfect
fit. I had scoliosis growing up and wore a back brace for three years, 24 hours
a day, seven days a week. And my grandmother had severe scoliosis that affected
her throughout her entire life. In addition, I know many people who have had major
surgery for the disease. The quality of life can be significantly impaired if this
disease is not corrected or cured.
I believe the research team at the Children’s Discovery Institute can find a cure.
Already, they have searched for related genetic factors for scoliosis and have narrowed
the search for the complex genetic link from something the size of the world all
the way down to the neighborhood and now the block. Once they discover the genes
responsible for scoliosis, they’re on the way to a cure.
Q: Why do you consider the Children’s Discovery
Institute a good investment?
Michelle: I consider it a good investment
because I’m certain we fill find cures to many diseases—and that is priceless. I
know my endowment is being properly stewarded by the best and brightest people.
We are already seeing exciting progress but I don’t expect instant results. What’s
fascinating is that the research being done through the Children’s Discovery Institute
is relevant to the world. If just one of these diseases is cured, it’s cured for
the world, not just for St. Louis or the United States.
By investing in the Institute, I hope to improve the quality of life for as many
people as possible. Being part of this brings me such great joy—I’m so proud of
what the Institute researchers are doing.
Michelle Trulaske is a former broadcast journalist
and advertising executive who serves on the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation
Board and is chair of the Donor Care Committee.