Donors Support Our Legacy of Exceptional Care

Sun Health Foundation recognizes and celebrates the importance of community collaboration in its approach toward compassionate, exceptional health care.

We are proud to highlight several of our valued donors who have invested in fundraising efforts to give the gift of health and ensure access to superior health care services is preserved well into the future. Their major gift commitment represents the impact that occurs when donors engage personally with our vision.

Dutch & Dolores Svoboda

Sun Health, legacy donors

Dutch and Dolores Svoboda have seen lots of changes since moving to Sun City in 1974, especially when it comes to health care. The Iowa natives know that excellent health care is a vital community asset that works best with community support. For more than 40 years, they’ve put that knowledge into action by supporting Sun Health Foundation. A hospital stay for Dutch at Banner Boswell and Banner Boswell Rehabilitation Center only served to reinforce the Svoboda’s commitment.

Sun Health Foundation is truly grateful for donors like Dutch and Delores, who have made a planned gift to ensure that people in the community continue to receive superior health care, now and in the future. To learn more about making a planned gift, please visit

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Birt & Louisa Kellam

Longtime Sun Health donors and volunteers

In the West Valley, the name Kellam is synonymous with generosity. The husband and wife have given and continue giving bountifully to dozens of local charities including Sun Health Foundation. They are passionate about supporting programs and services that help people live healthier, fuller lives.

“We are really people-oriented,” Birt says. “We like to see people prosper, learn and enjoy life. We like the arts, we’re interested in education and we really want our health care not just to be excellent, but to be superior.”

A prime example of the Kellam’s commitment to “superior” health care can be found at Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center where the Louisa Kellam Center for Women’s Health provides comprehensive health care services for women at every stage of life, services that were somewhat lacking in the community before the Kellams stepped up.

Both Birt and Louisa believe not only in sharing their treasure, but also in sharing their time and talents. They’ve volunteered in many capacities for dozens of nonprofits in the West Valley. Among their favorite causes, health care ranks near the top.

“I can’t really think of a higher calling,” Birt says. “Working with the Sun Health Foundation saves lives, enriches lives and changes lives. The impact is unquestionable.”

Sun Health Foundation: R. Jack Stephenson

Jack Stephenson

Sun Health board member, donor and patient

When Jack Stephenson suffered a stroke while relax­ing at home one Friday evening, it appeared he might be in for a long recovery. The left-side hemorrhagic stroke rendered his right arm and leg essentially useless.

But the staff on the acute rehab unit at Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center encouraged and challenged Jack to keep moving forward. After nearly a month in the hospital, followed by therapy at Sun Health’s Grandview Health and Rehabilitation, he regained most of the strength and flexibility in his arm and leg.

His neurologist is confident he’ll be able to play golf again, a lifelong passion. Jack credits the rehab team with his quick recovery.

 “The nurses, nursing assistants, physical and occupational therapists, you name it, they were all excellent. First, they got me ready to come home and then they concentrated on getting me back to where I was before the stroke. I don’t know how you can get it any better.”

Sun Health Foundation: Anne MacDonald

Anne MacDonald

Sun Health Care Transitions, patient

Pancreatic cancer is one of the few major cancers still widely considered a death sentence. But Anne MacDonald defied death. Surgeons removed a malignant tumor from her pancreas in 2012, and she’s still cancer-free and kicking strong.

But she would be the first to say that she’s had plenty of support along the way. After the surgery and three subsequent hospitalizations, Anne received excellent care from nurses on the Sun Health Care Transitions team.

 “When you leave the hospital, you are given a plethora of information about how to take your medicines, what signs to look out for, dos and don’ts and so forth. If you’re anxious to get home, or distracted, or in pain, the infor­mation may fall by the wayside.

 The Care Transitions nurses came to my home and went over all my medications, all my instructions, test results, and doctor appointments. And they helped me organize it all into a binder. They followed up with weekly phone calls to make sure I was all right and hadn’t developed any new problems.

 Everyone I met on the team was incredibly caring. In fact, I was sad when my time was up with them because I knew I’d miss their phone calls and their caring. It’s very encouraging to know that someone is out there looking after you.”

Sun Health Foundation: Dr. Jennifer Howse

Dr. Jennifer Howse

Daughter of La Loma Assisted Living resident Pat Howse

Moving residences is difficult at any time of life, but it can be especially hard on older adults. Pat Howse is a case in point. Due to changes in her body as she aged, the 91-year-old has moved at least twice since putting down roots at Sun Health’s La Loma Village in 2010. Her latest move went a lot smoother, thanks to the caring and responsive employees at La Loma Care Center and its continued life care program.

Pat’s daughter, Dr. Jennifer Howse, national president of the March of Dimes, enthusiastically praised the La Loma team for their help. Staff carefully packed and moved Pat’s belongings, helping her settle into a spacious new apartment on the center’s assisted living wing, where she’s made many friends and discovered new activities.

Dr. Howse writes,

“Mom is doing really well in her new apartment. In short, I am thrilled.”

Thanks to help from Sun Health Foundation funding the care center’s recent transformation from skilled nursing unit into a new 10-apartment assisted living unit, Pat is enjoying her new resort-style accommodations and programs.

Sun Health Foundation: Barbara Ruppert

Barbara Ruppert

Banner Boswell Medical Center, patient

Barbara Ruppert is a deep-hearted giver. Mother, wife, employee, volun­teer, philanthropist: she’s perfected the art of giving through years of practice.

Receiving is not nearly as familiar or as comfortable for her, but heart problems thrust her into the receiving chair. Tests revealed calcification on two of her heart valves, which called for valve replacement surgery.

She chose Banner Boswell Medical Center, designated one of the nation’s 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals by Truven Health Analytics.

 “Dr. Rejeev Kathuria was my surgeon and he did an excellent job. Everyone that cared for me was so nice and helpful. I can’t say enough good things about the care at Boswell.”

Barbara recently celebrated her 80th birthday and she’s truly grateful for her health. “The Lord’s not done with me yet. I’ve still got more to give.”

Sun Health Foundation donors are major supporters of Banner Boswell Medical Center, providing millions of dollars each year to fund improvements, including the cardiac care program.

Sun Health Foundation: Jim and Sara Dean

Jim & Sara Dean

Banner Sun Health Research Institute, donors and volunteers

Jim Dean used to make his living as a public speaker, so he was particularly frustrated when Parkinson’s disease robbed him of his ability to talk fluidly.

Still, he’s found other ways to get his message across loud and clear. He and his wife Sara have become strong voices for Parkinson’s research and treatment, especially in the area of exercise.

Sara explains:
“When my mom passed away in 2011, she left a legacy for the Banner Sun Health Research Institute focusing on Parkinson’s research. We met with Dr. (Holly) Shill to find out exactly where that money should go and she described her concept of a wellness center for Parkinson’s patients. So that’s why we started Neuro Wellness West. It provides physical and emotional resources for those in the West Valley with Parkinson’s.”

Thanks to the Deans’ support, the Neuro Wellness West program is helping hundreds of Valley Parkinson’s patients stay mobile and active.

It’s a bold statement for hope.