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39 years ago, Marshall Hospital Changed our Lives

Recently, my now adult son, Kurtis asked, “I’ve been wondering, why would you adopt someone like me, with all my problems and disabilities? I’ve been so much work for you.”

Why, indeed, would someone adopt the most severely abused child to survive in the United States at the time of his placement? As a toddler, Kurtis had been abandoned by his birth parents, and adopted by his biological aunt and uncle, where he suffered horrible abuse. Kurtis was less than two years old when he moved into my heart in 1978. 

There are so many answers to Kurtis’ question; naiveté, arrogance, desperation, fear, compassion, love, but Kurtis wanted facts. I explained the process of adoptions in the 70’s and how we trusted God to give us the child He had planned.  

In spite of my nursing background, Kurtis’ needs were overwhelming. He needed home teachers, physical, speech and occupational therapy, almost daily doctor appointments, and surgeries, which threatened to pull my usually organized self down in an undertow of activity.

But the day we walked into Dr. Gregory Dixon’s office (now passed) at Marshall Medical Center to make an appointment, so tired that I began to cry, I knew I had found the help we needed. Dr. Dixon saw us right away — a weeping mother and her physically and developmentally disabled child. 

The compassion continued with the care we received at Marshall Hospital during Kurtis’ many stays there. We were consistently treated with empathy and understanding. No one ever treated us like we were lesser for having MediCal. There was never any hassle over charges, copays, deductibles, or fees. Some friends suggested I take Kurtis to a big name hospital in the valley for his surgery. They could not possibly know the trust and faith we had in Marshall. Marshall knew Kurtis, his story, and they loved him. It showed.

I am now in a position to give back. Kurtis and I have discussed what should be done with my estate after it provides for us until the end of his life. We decided to give one million dollars to Marshall Foundation for Community Health, and hope that it will allow Marshall Hospital to continue their tradition of compassion and hope.

Your Support Matters

No matter the size, your gift makes a meaningful difference at Marshall Foundation For Community Health. Please contact us at 530-642-9984, or visit to learn more about leaving your own legacy.