“He believed in you and what you do at the Center.”
Those were the words Randi Wilson said to me when I arrived at the visitation for her husband Jim. It brought tears to my eyes. I was supposed to be comforting her and instead she was sharing that Jim intentionally planned for his legacy gifts to be given to the Children’s Healing Center.
I first met Jim in 2013 when I was working to start the Center. Holding positions as President of Michigan Blood, President of Blodgett Hospital, and COO of Mary Free Bed, Jim was an expert in healthcare. He was recommended by a mutual friend as a wealth of knowledge. His guidance and friendship in the following years were invaluable.
The Wilson family at Jim’s daughter’s wedding.
Jim’s kindness immediately put me as ease. He listened intently to my challenges and ambitious plans. He offered encouragement and ideas, always with a huge grin on his face.
I remember sitting outside at the tables in front of Wealthy Street Bakery together. We shared many coffees talking about our dreams, our families and West Michigan healthcare. Jim introduced me to community leaders and lifetime friends. Through his time and generous spirit, he helped make the Children’s Healing Center a reality.
Jim (center) with his beautiful family on his 65th birthday.
Unfortunately, cancer treatment became a shared experience when Jim was diagnosed with colon cancer. Through his relapse and hospice care, we talked about the gift of life and making our time count. Jim continued to support and praise the work we were doing at the Center.
It is hard to describe the impact of a person whose belief in me transcended his life on Earth. Next to God’s love, I think it is the most powerful thing we can offer one another.
“It’s hard to describe the impact of a person whose belief in me transcended his life on Earth.”
I am grateful for the eternal encouragement Jim gave me through believing the Center worthy of his memorial gifts. I hope I can spend my life helping people achieve their dreams, like Jim and so many others have done for me.