Over 45 years ago, Margaret Phillips, a trained nurse practitioner, read a newspaper ad for a nurse who could work in the neonatology intensive care unit (NICU). "At the time, the NICU was a fairly new concept," she says. "I applied for the job and got it."
Later, Margaret and her husband Robert moved to Maryland and she began working in the NICU at Children's National. Margaret watched as neonatology and fetal medicine flourished over the next 28 years. "I feel like I've lived the history of the field," she says. "When I began, we lacked the technology to save babies born under three pounds. Today, babies as little as two pounds have a good chance of survival thanks to medical progress and philanthropic investment."
The Phillipses make a point to give back in their retirement years. Last year, they generously completed a charitable gift annuity. "I've always been healthcare-oriented," says Robert, who earned a PhD in health physics, helped develop the standards used in pediatric imaging and spent 32 years at the Food and Drug Administration.
Inspired by his wife's work, Robert believes their donation is critical to fueling the cutting-edge research that will help revolutionize care for babies. "We, as a society, spend a lot of money on advanced treatment that would not be as necessary with accessible medical care earlier on. Supporting Children's National gives sick children a better chance at life."
Margaret reflects often on her nursing days at Children's National and has a lot of memories that remind her why their donation is so important. "One day," she says, "a handsome 17-year-old boy walked in with his mother. I remembered the last time I had seen him as a terribly sick baby. And now he was thriving." Margaret smiles and adds, "This is the joy in neonatology. Because of the care delivered at Children's National, kids can go on to lead happy, normal lives."