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From Left to Right: Lillian Gratz, Jim Gratz, Dr. Wolff Kirsch, John Gratz (patient), Dr. Antranik Bedros, Marjorie Spindler (aunt to John)

Charles and Lorena Gratz had one guiding philosophy when it came to money: "If it goes in the bank, it stays there." It was this belief that led them to make an astounding gift to Loma Linda University Children's Hospital in celebration of their grandson John's life.

When he was just 12 years old, John was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor—news that shattered his family. As a prior patient at Loma Linda University Medical Center—before the current Children's Hospital was even built, John started to visit oncologists instead of pediatricians and started to make friends with nurses and specialists rather than kids at school.

When John was admitted to LLUMC in 1992, the most cutting-edge treatment in the world was newly available to him—proton treatment. As one of the first pediatric patients ever to use proton therapy, John lay perfectly positioned and still in the giant gantry, while laser beams destroyed his tumor. Through the expertise and determination of Dr. Wolff Kirsch and Dr. Antranik Bedros, John was given another chance at life.

His mother, Lil, recalls how John experienced excruciating headaches for years prior to his diagnosis, yet he passed all of his neurological exams. Lil shares her belief that the timing was always in God's hands, "the treatment technology to heal John, the proton therapy, simply wasn't ready until John was 12 years old. God was always in control."

Now, 18 years after John started his treatment at LLUMC, he was able to share in the celebration as his parents, Jim and Lil, and Aunt Marjorie presented a check for $500,000 to the Children's Hospital to support pediatric cancer treatment and research. Through estate planning and establishing a trust, Charles and Lorena Gratz's position on savings and contributions has given back many times over and will transform the lives of thousands of children battling cancer.

If you wish to include Loma Linda University Children's Hospital in your Will or other estate plans, please contact the Office of Planned Giving at 909-558-4553 and we will be happy to answer questions and provide information.

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