Michael Ortman, Arthritis Foundation board chair, knows all too well how juvenile arthritis (JA) can impact a family for a lifetime.
When his son, Daniel, was 11 years old, he began complaining of pain in his foot and ankle. The Ortmans took Daniel to numerous doctors to determine the cause, and after he was diagnosed with a bone scan, Mike and his wife, Kate, were told that Daniel had JA – and that it was spreading to other joints in his body. His parents watched as Daniel went from an active, tree-climbing, independent child to a boy who needed a wheelchair and assistance performing everyday tasks.
Now 27, Daniel continues to struggle with mobility, and has spent most of the last three years homebound. Although he has experienced some recent victories, he still struggles from the ongoing physical and mental challenges of arthritis.
“Daniel has fought this disease for more than 15 years,” says Mike. “And in addition to the physical pain, we see that the mental challenges are just as difficult to overcome. Being homebound and unable to work are just a couple of examples of challenges many people with arthritis may experience. But Daniel still keeps a positive attitude.”
Volunteering and Giving Back
After Daniel’s diagnosis, Mike and Kate participated in numerous fundraising and volunteer initiatives to assist the Arthritis Foundation. In November 2014, Mike was named chair of the Foundation’s board of directors, enabling him to lead from the front. The Ortmans’ volunteer and fundraising efforts have varied; this year, Mike and Kate organized a bike ride from one end of the Florida Keys to the other, dubbed “The Keys for a Cure,” which went toward their family’s personal fundraising goal for the Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run.
“Our family believes in acts of service,” says Mike. “We stand behind the act of giving – giving our time, talent and treasure.”
One of the most meaningful ways the Ortmans give back is through planned giving. They know all too well that medical expenses, unpaid leave from work, co-pays, physical therapy and more, can be overwhelming for those with arthritis, and that families and loved ones often share the financial burden. By making a planned gift to the Arthritis Foundation, Mike and Kate are ensuring that others can benefit from this donation, even after they’re gone.
“Kate and I have been searching for a cure for arthritis for more than 15 years,” says Mike. “With a planned gift, we’re determined to help the millions like Daniel who are looking for a chance to say Yes over life’s obstacles, for many years to come.”
With planned giving, there are many ways to give and numerous types of planned gifts to donate, to fit the financial needs of any giver. Gifts of cash, stocks and bonds, and even property can be donated, and almost all donations provide a myriad of benefits for the giver.
“The Arthritis Foundation has so many ways to champion the fight against arthritis,” says Mike. “With planned gifts, we can contribute to making scientific strides to find a cure; support and advocate for those with arthritis; or we can expand on the many tools and resources we’ve created to help the arthritis community. We know the Arthritis Foundation will use our gift to improve the quality of life of many others.”
In addition to helping the Foundation make a difference, those who make a planned gift can also experience a tax advantage (e.g., charitable tax deductions); reduce or eliminate probate; realign their investment portfolio and more. You can read more about these benefits in the first post in our series about planned giving!
As for Daniel’s future, Mike and Kate hope that one day he will experience the joy of having a family of his own.
“We have hope that the Arthritis Foundation will help our arthritis community pave the way for a better tomorrow,” says Mike. “And what better way to do that than to create your legacy and give, even after you’re gone.”
To learn more about planned gifts, please visit www.arthritislegacy.org, fill out our short form, call 866-528-8687, or email [email protected]. You can also read all four previous posts in our planned giving blog series to learn more about how to help the Arthritis Foundation lead the fight against arthritis!
- Planned Giving Options: How to Give – Part One
- Planned Giving Options: How to Give – Part Two
- Leave Your Legacy: Planned Giving 101
- So Many Ways to Give: Your Planned Giving