When Sharon Baker passed away May 26, 2017, she left behind not only a 27-year career devoted to Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital (BJWCH) but also a legacy as a pillar of the hospital because of her warmth, optimism and compassion.
Now, the BJWCH medical staff association is honoring Baker, who was BJWCH’s medical staff office manager, with a gift of $50,000 to establish a patient care fund in her memory at The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital. This endowed fund will help provide a financial lifeline for years to come to patients who are unable to pay for critical medical treatments and other daily necessities including food, rent and utilities.
“After Sharon’s passing, many of us on the medical staff wanted to appropriately commemorate all that Sharon gave to this hospital,” said J. Chris Eagon, MD, BJWCH chief of staff. “With the construction of the new hospital, it seemed appropriate to create a philanthropic gift to memorialize her devotion to the medical staff.”
Physicians and other individuals associated with the hospital or local community can also join the effort to honor Baker. If another $25,000 can be raised from individual donations, the medical staff association has agreed to match up to that amount, bringing the total funds raised in her memory to $100,000. In addition, at this level of philanthropy, the replacement hospital’s medical staff lounge will be named in Baker’s honor.
“Sharon’s knowledge of the workings and history of the hospital was essential in guiding our leadership over the years,” Dr. Eagon said. “And in the early days, she was truly a one-person sales force for our hospital, traveling to area physician offices encouraging them to send patients to the hospital.”
Baker’s husband, Barry, is honored by the initiative and knows his wife would be, too.
“The hospital was a big part of Sharon’s life,” Baker said. “The doctors and staff were like family to her, and most of her friends worked for the hospital. Her main focus was helping doctors and patients. She wanted to make sure everyone got the right care.”
If individuals would like to make a contribution online, visit www.foundationbarnesjewish.org/sharon (under Areas to Support, choose “other” and list the Sharon Baker Challenge). Or, send a check made payable to the Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital to: One Highlands Plaza Drive West, Suite 140, St. Louis, MO, 63110. Be sure to mention the Sharon Baker Challenge.