“Pay It Forward”, The Legacy Of Giving

Organization: Story Topics:
Philanthropy
Like Andrea Jeffrey, help us write Orange Coast Memorial Foundation’s giving history by making us a part of your life story.

“MemorialCare makes legacy a verb, not a noun.” AJ

Triumph Over Adversity

Facing adversity truly tests the character of a person. For Andrea Jeffrey of Huntington Beach, or “AJ” as she is affectionately known, challenges have only made her stronger. As a volunteer for Orange Coast Memorial, AJ offers support to cancer patients. She understands their struggle; AJ is a breast cancer survivor herself.

But that is not the only battle that she has faced. Fourteen years ago, AJ was diagnosed with progressive systemic scleroderma and was given 1-2 years to live. As a result of her condition, she also suffered from renal failure and congestive heart failure. Then came her diagnosis of breast cancer and major knee surgery. Today, however, she is doing well and she credits the care she received from MemorialCare.  

Through it all, AJ was a fighter and continued to run her own company, volunteer in the community and serve as matriarch for her family. Facing such battles, “makes you a better person,” she says.

Pay It Forward

Rather than dwell on the many hurdles she has faced, AJ focuses on how to make the world around her a better place by “paying it forward” and encouraging a family focus on philanthropy and volunteering.

This spirit thrives in her sons and grandchildren. When AJ’s grandson Nate was 6, he witnessed his grandmother’s battle with breast cancer. He watched her hair fall out and saw her struggle with the side effects of treatment. AJ’s example really had an impact on Nate and when he was 10, he came up with the idea of “Skate for the Cure,” a skateboarding fundraiser to raise money to fight cancer. “Nate gets it,” said AJ and she is truly proud. Her other two grandchildren, Daniel and Elliott, are also actively helping others by donating basic needs items and making Christmas stockings for the homeless.

The Legacy Of Giving

Webster’s Dictionary defines legacy as a noun which means “something such as property or money that is received from someone who has died.”  AJ begs to differ.  She feels legacy is a deeply personal, emotional action – a demonstration of what your life has meant and what impression you leave on your family and community.

AJ is not only leaving a legacy of her actions, but is also giving to organizations close to her heart, including Orange Coast Memorial. “Sometimes people don’t think that in a nice community like Fountain Valley a hospital such as Orange Coast Memorial has needs.” She is struck by the fact that although she has never faced the challenge of not being able to pay for her medical bills, that others do. “I have been fortunate to have good insurance, but I realize others may face large medical bills and Orange Coast Memorial provides the same treatment to everyone regardless of their ability to pay. A medical crisis could wipe out any savings a family has.

Because of this, AJ has remembered Orange Coast Memorial in her estate plans. “Accessing health care shouldn’t be a matter of good fortune”, says AJ. She recognizes the need in the community and sees what Orange Coast Memorial has done for her. “That’s part of what legacy does, it fulfills a need for those moments you see someone in need and can’t get help.” AJ says her gratitude is from the heart, it is very genuine.

For more information, please visit http://orangecoastlegacy.org