Making a Difference, Together

tags: Why I Give

Barbara and Ron Walcher do a puzzleEver since his first day at Kennedy Krieger Institute in 1970, Dr. Ron Walcher has marveled at how much Kennedy Krieger does for its patients and their families. He’s also remained incredibly grateful for the opportunity he’s had to contribute to the Institute’s mission.

“I’ve always felt positively about the Institute,” says Ron, who started on a two-year fellowship and stayed on for the next 26 years, working part time while running his own pediatric practice. “I just love the place.”

Over the years, Ron and his wife, Barbara, both members of the Kennedy Krieger Society, have given to the Institute whenever they can, as well as to their church and other charitable causes in Baltimore. When they wrote out their will, they included the Institute as a beneficiary.

"At Kennedy Krieger, everybody wins. Patients get their lives back, and their caregivers do, too."
- Ron Walcher

Before attending medical school, Ron worked in physical therapy, often with children with cerebral palsy. “It made sense to follow through in rehabilitation,” he explains. Ron and Barbara didn’t intend to remain in Baltimore, but they found it a good place to live, and they realized they could make a difference in the lives of many children by continuing to work with the Institute.

Dr. Walcher examines a patientThey met at church in New York City in 1960, when Ron—originally from Texas—was serving with the public health service, and Barbara—from Massachusetts—was working in advertising. They raised their son and daughter in Baltimore, encouraging them to save 10 percent of their allowance to donate to church.

“We taught our children that the more you save, the more you can give away,” Barbara says. They’ve never lived extravagantly, which has allowed them to practice a culture of philanthropy and support others in need.

“We feel we’ve been really blessed to be able to do that,” Barbara says, “and we hope we might inspire others to give, too.”

Visit the Kennedy Krieger Society page to learn more about the Kennedy Krieger Society.