A Lifesaving Gift of Gratitude

Leslie Grigg

Leslie holds a special keepsake—a scrapbook of get-well cards and well wishes Leslie's doctors and nurses put together.

In 1976, when Leslie (Grigg) Garvin was just 3 years old, she was rushed to St. Louis Children’s Hospital with bacterial spinal meningitis, a life-threatening infection of the membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Soon after arrival, she went into cardiac arrest and lapsed into a coma. She was placed on a respirator with around-the-clock care.

Over the next few weeks, Leslie’s condition continued to worsen. Leslie’s parents stayed by her bedside, usually accompanied by Ralph Feigin, MD, a pediatric infectious disease specialist. Together, they refused to give up hope.

Finally, Leslie woke up. While the illness had taken a toll—she was deaf and blind and paralyzed on her right side—Leslie was a fighter and had a health care team devoted to helping her heal. Over time, her eyesight and some of her hearing returned, and after a year of physical therapy, her paralysis disappeared.

Leslie went on to become an accomplished musician and athlete. She also became a lifesaver. A sample of her blood was used to create a vaccine for bacterial spinal meningitis that now saves countless lives.

She and her family credit Dr. Feigin and the hospital team for saving Leslie’s life. Leslie’s gratitude led her to include St. Louis Children’s Hospital in her charitable estate plans.

“I decided to remember all the people who saw me through my illness and its aftermath,” she says. “A gift made to Children’s Hospital to support infectious disease research is a way of keeping Dr. Feigin’s legacy alive.”

A gift in your estate is a great way to honor the legacy of someone you love or admire. To learn more, contact the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation at 314.286.0988 or slchfoundation@bjc.org.