An Advocate for Body and Soul
A long-time volunteer at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, Lora Clark has made several contributions to the place that means so much to her.
Now a grandmother and great-grandmother, Lora Clark has lived in the northwest suburbs since 1950. She and her late husband, Donald, raised their two children, Greg and Sharon, in Des Plaines. A church secretary, Lora began volunteering at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in 1967—and she’s been devoted to the organization ever since.
Lora’s volunteer duties ranged from working at the front desk of an addiction treatment program to chairing the annual gala. While she “always met nice, kind-hearted people at the hospital,” it was her 20-plus years of volunteering at the flower shop that meant the most to her. A fan of flower shop manager Jenny Barrett, Lora says, “Jenny has been there a long time, and she does a fantastic job.”
Lora and her family are also grateful for the care her husband received at the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit at the end of his life. A hard-working accountant who rose to chief financial officer at Kemper Insurance, Don had surgery at age 86 to correct a lifelong heart problem. While the surgery was successful, he had a stroke not long afterward and, ultimately, died on the unit. During the five weeks he was there, Lora says, “He couldn’t have had any better care anywhere. The ICU team did everything they could for him—it was simply his time.”
Years before, Don and Lora were making a will, and they decided to make a bequest to their favorite hospital, Lutheran General. “We had seen the hospital grow from a single, seven-story yellow building to what it is today: a state-of-the-art campus with comprehensive care—a nationally known organization consistently named among the country’s ‘100 Top’ hospitals,” Lora says. “We wanted to help keep it at the top. You have to leave something for the next generation to work with, to make sure your hospital stays strong.”
A fitting tribute
Since then, Lora has made several other meaningful gifts to Lutheran General. As a tribute to her late husband, she and her family funded a renovation of the ICU waiting area, where they had spent a lot of time. The new décor and furniture make it a much more pleasant place to wait and a fitting memorial to Don. “He would have liked that,” Lora says. “He was a very giving person.”
Recently, Lora returned to her old stomping grounds, the flower shop, for a special ceremony to dedicate her latest donation: a new flower cooler. There’s a glassed-in area in the front for floral displays and a walk-in cooler in the back.
“It was my honor and my pleasure to purchase this gift,” Lora says. “The flower shop was my baby, and they’re very happy with it.”
Lora values health care philanthropy and encourages others to give to their local Advocate hospital. “Hospitals always need more funds because people are always hurting,” she says. “To help them, we must add new programs, keep up with the latest advancements and renovate aging facilities.”
Motivated by her Christian faith, Lora believes good stewardship of her resources includes using them to help care for the sick. “Our bodies are part of God’s creation, and we must take care of them, just as we take care of our souls,” she says. She is certain that Lutheran General Hospital is a place where people can heal in body and soul—and one where her giving makes a difference. “It’s a great place,” she says. “I care about what happens to it.”