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Celebrate Excellent Care

Charlie’s Challenge: 7-Year-Old Collects $646 in Donations for Beebe in Memory of His Father

By: Mary Veenema

My son, Charlie Walter, is 7 years old.  He lost his father, Donald Walter, on May 2, 2020.

Donald spent the last several years of his life as a patient at Beebe Healthcare due to renal failure. His initial prognosis was that he wouldn’t live for more than 5 years. However, under the care of Beebe, he lived for 7 years from the point of diagnosis. Charlie and our family accompanied Donald to countless appointments and have many fond memories of the doctors at Beebe - Roman Orsini, DPM, and many others included. Donald was cared for at Beebe with diligence and compassion.

In March of this year, Charlie started saving his tooth fairy money and any change that he found. He kept it in a “Best Dad Ever” mug that he had given to his father for Father’s Day. He took the mug to school, Rehoboth Elementary, where he decided while talking to the school psychologist, that he was going to start a fundraiser in his father’s memory and donate the money to Beebe. His school psychologist suggested that giving back in this way would help Charlie through the healing process.

The mug stayed at school for teachers and other staff to donate. Charlie also received donations from his family (including little sister Ayva), friends, and his parents’ co-workers.

In total, Charlie’s efforts collected an incredible $646 for Beebe Healthcare!

On Tuesday, Aug. 10, Charlie and I brought the check to Beebe Medical Foundation and took a photo to celebrate Charlie’s donation in honor of the excellent care his father received at Beebe. Our family had the chance to meet Tom Protack, President of Beebe Medical Foundation as well as Dr. David Tam, the CEO of Beebe Healthcare.

When Dr. Tam asked Charlie how he would like the donation to be used, Charlie responded: “I just want this money to help other people.”

I am so proud of Charlie.  And I am grateful for community that rallied around him during this difficult time.

“After all that he’s been through,” shared Dr. Tam, “Charlie has demonstrated the resilience that comes from being a child and having a family who supports him and showers him with love. I am confident his dad is so proud of him. Thank you, Charlie, for making my day. My week. Maybe my month.”

Tom Protack also commented on Charlie’s philanthropy, “It’s not every day a 7-year-old reaches out to make a donation.  Charlie’s incredible generosity is inspiring and contagious in the best way ever!  In fact, we have already had several people match his donation. We encourage the community to support Charlie’s Challenge by donating $646.00, $64.60, $6.46 or even $64,600 to help Charlie fill his mug, in memory of his father.”

Meet Charlie and learn more about “Charlie’s Challenge” in a video posted on the Beebe Medical Foundation Facebook page.

As a community-based, not-for-profit healthcare system, Beebe Healthcare depends on the generous support of the community it serves. To make a gift to “fill Charlie’s mug”, visit Beebe Medical Foundation at beebehealthcare.org/donate or call 302-644-2900 and mention Charlie’s Challenge. If you would like to share your story of excellent care at Beebe, please contact Amanda Neal at aneal@beebehealthcare.org.

Photo caption: (top, left to right): Tom Protack, President of Beebe Medical Foundation, Dr. David Tam, President and CEO of Beebe Healthcare, Charlie Walter, Diane Walter (Charlie’s grandmother), Ayva Veenema (Charlie’s sister), Ray Veenema (Charlie’s step dad), Mary Veenema (Charlie’s mother)