For more than five decades, Jane Gattavara and her late husband Gene, leaned on the care and expertise of the providers at St. Elizabeth Hospital. To show her thanks, Jane makes gifts in honor of Gene, who needed complex digestive care.
Jane and Gene met at Chico State University in the 1960s. After getting married, the couple found their dream home on eight acres in Buckley, Washington, just a few miles away from Gene's family in Enumclaw.
Eventually, they had a son and filled their home with four-legged friends. Jane surrounded their home with gigantic flower beds that were alive with bees, birds and butterflies.
“Gene and I loved our home in Buckley and we enjoyed being part of this rural community. We both love to be busy, and there's always something to do when you live on acreage with a wood stove to heat the house,” Jane says. "We considered living even farther from town, but Gene needed to be within a short drive of a hospital."
When Gene developed a gastrointestinal condition, he had his large intestine removed. After a month in the hospital, he returned home to regain his strength and soon was back to work as a manager at Safeway – and doing chores around the house.
During his recovery, Jane had full trust in his care team and was able to continue to work in the library at Auburn High School and visit Gene after work.
Knowing that St. Elizabeth was nearby – and that they knew Gene's medical needs so well – comforted the Gattavaras. "We didn’t have to start from square one every time Gene had to go to Emergency Services or needed to stay at the hospital for a few days," said Jane.
When Gene died in 2012, the St. Elizabeth team made sure he wasn’t in any pain and helped Jane get through her loss.
“I wasn’t ready for him to go, but he was 82 and for someone with his medical needs, he lived longer and healthier than many others. Eventually, his body was weak from constantly fighting infections and he was very uncomfortable,” Jane remembers. “It was a very hard time, but I’m glad we were in a place where the people cared about him.”
Over the years, Jane has leaned on the hospital too. She had a hip replaced and has had a couple of other minor procedures. As Jane thanked the hospital with her gifts, she’s become increasingly reflective about the quality of care that St. Elizabeth has given to her family.
To show her gratitude and support for St. Elizabeth to always remain a resource for the residents in Enumclaw and surrounding towns, she included St. Elizabeth in her estate plans.
“I appreciate that the hospital is here for us outside the big city. I think anyone who has benefited from their care in the way I have should support the hospital if they have the means,” she says. “I’ll continue to give because making sure the hospital is always here for others is important to me.”