"We have a problem."
It was January 1975. Sima Osdoby had just given birth to twin girls when the obstetrician told her husband, Arthur Katz, that something was wrong with one of their babies.
Born one minute after her sister, Dara had a rare and severe birth defect affecting part of her intestines, urinary system, back and hips. At a time when the condition was seen by many as untreatable and almost always fatal, the family's pediatrician had the experience and foresight to rush Dara to Children's National Hospital.
"Dara spent her first six weeks at Children's National undergoing several surgeries," Sima remembers. "We were prepared for the worst, but the care she received in those first weeks from the whole team was fantastic."
After Dara went home, that support continued as her parents learned to care for both of their infants' needs. Dara returned to Children's National for additional surgeries and most importantly support that sent the message she should not limit her ambitions because of her medical situation. She now pursues a rewarding career in international development. Dara has worked and lived in places like Kosovo, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Libya and South Sudan for the UN, USAID and others. Sima and Arthur believe Dara's childhood experiences inspired her career path.
Dara still returns to Children's National today, but as a hospital volunteer. Like her parents, she regularly makes gifts to support the hospital that saved her life. Arthur and Sima have been giving to Children's National for over 30 years. Dara, already a member of The Guardian Society, urged her parents to take their support to the next level. Arthur and Sima recently named Children's National a beneficiary in their will.
"You come to a point in your life when you start thinking about providing long term for your children and for the institutions that are important to you. Children's National is one of those places for us. When a child receives treatment at Children's National, it's going to shape her life for 50, 60, 80 years. By planning now, we hope to provide support that can help future patients and their families."