The Meaning of Care Magazine

Touching Gift to Methodist Hospital Foundation Proves That Gratitude Doesn’t Expire

Published: Aug. 24, 2021

Long before the days of social media, smartphones and streaming TV, Elva Egger had foot surgery at Methodist Hospital. Ronald Reagan was president at the time, and “Return of the Jedi” was tops at the box office. It was 1983. 

“My mom was in between insurance companies and not on Medicare yet, so my parents were totally responsible for the medical bills,” said Elva’s daughter, Kathy Egger Bell. “I know my parents made monthly payments for a while, and then they received the letter from Methodist Hospital Foundation that the rest of their bill would be paid. They always told us that they would like to give back if they could.”

Kathy’s parents passed away in the spring of 2001 within 12 days of each other. Shortly after, Kathy wrote a check to the Foundation in her parents’ memory – a donation in support of charitable care that she hoped “could help someone else just a little.”

“My parents really appreciated the help that they received and always wanted to pay it forward,” she said.

The story doesn’t end there. As can easily happen, that check accidentally got mixed in with some other papers, stashed in a box and forgotten – for two decades. Kathy rediscovered the check recently – “better late than never” – and mailed it off to the Foundation. 

A lot has changed since 1983, but the family’s gratitude is as strong as ever. 

“When someone helps you during a difficult time, you don’t forget,” Kathy said.

Her family’s gift is directly impacting lives. In 2020, the Foundation’s Charitable Care Program touched more than 7,100 people, including patients who need help covering the cost of things like prescription medications, lodging and hospice care.

There is no expiration date on gratitude. If you would like to support the Foundation’s Charitable Care outreach, visit

Photo illustration by Chris Thompson

More Resources