A Story of Hope

Spotlight: Giving to Easterseals Redwood

Donna’s journey with Easterseals Redwood (ESRW) began when her cousin had a child with autism, and her family turned to Easterseals Redwood during founder Dorothy Wood’s tenure. Many years later, Donna’s granddaughter, Lili, had just started daycare in the Cincinnati area, and contracted the RSV virus from this daycare and was hospitalized. Since Donna was already familiar with Easterseals Redwood’s childcare for complex conditions, she knew it would be the right place for her granddaughter, Lili, when they discovered she had asthma and would need daily breathing treatments.

Over time, Donna’s connection to Easterseals Redwood deepened and she sought enrollment for her, Lili in ESRW’s children’s programs. Her daughter, Stacy, about to return to work, was on a long waiting list for Lili to receive care. Miraculously, a spot opened out of the blue. Donna reflected on it as a divine occurrence.

When Donna would pick up Lili from Easterseals Redwood, she marveled at the varied abilities of Lili’s friends who used wheelchairs and crutches. She witnessed how diversity was the norm for her granddaughter and was delighted when Lili introduced her to one of Lili’s friends, Paul, who was non-verbal. On a separate occasion, she arrived to pick up Lili, looked into the room where the babies were being taken care of at Easterseals Redwood. She thought to herself, “She’s got four grandmas taking care of her,” and it made Donna very happy to see her granddaughter was in such good care at Easterseals Redwood.

Donna’s granddaughter, now a 25-year-old English teacher in Japan, inspired a commitment to giving back. Donna’s financial stability from her career in investment banking allowed for her to support Easterseals Redwood, recognizing its transformative impact on her family. Her generosity extended to other local non-profits like the Ronald McDonald House, the Salvation Army, and nationally to St. Jude. Donna believes making a difference goes beyond monetary donations, emphasizing the importance of volunteering and participating in events to witness positive changes firsthand.

Donna’s unique story exemplifies the influence of kindness and community support. From uncertain beginnings to the present, her commitment to giving back has not only transformed her granddaughter’s life but has also created a compassionate legacy touching many more lives in the Greater Cincinnati area.