Imagine finding out three months before your due date that your first child will be born with a life-threatening condition: a severe birth defect in which their abdominal organs move up into their chest, threatening the growth of their lungs as they develop in the womb.

Ryan and his wife, Megan, lived through that anguish and found hope and help at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Richard D. Wood Jr. Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment. Thanks to the Center’s team, their son Sam, a child who struggled to breathe after birth, is now a healthy, active fifth-grader who plays the trumpet, as well as basketball and tennis.

Ryan tells Sam’s birth story to the clients he financially advises to show why it’s never too early to start planning their legacy. In addition to being annual donors to CHOP for 10 years, Ryan and Megan — both in their 40s — have already decided to give a percentage of their estate to CHOP through a bequest.

When Ryan and Megan made their commitment to CHOP, their life-changing experience at the hospital was still vivid in their minds. They could see the impact philanthropy had on their son’s life, from his birth in the Garbose Family Special Delivery Unit, the world’s first delivery unit of its kind, to his surgery and two-month stay in the Harriet and Ronald Lassin Newborn/Infant Intensive Care Unit (N/IICU).

“We want to help sustain those services down the road to ensure that other families can have the same success we did,” says Ryan.

Planning their legacy early also allows them to pass on the value of philanthropy to their children as they grow up. “We want to set an example for our children that money is powerful if it’s used in the right way,” says Ryan. “It won’t guarantee that we’ll live a long life, but it can guarantee that we help others.”

— Abny Santicola

Screenshot of CFDT tour video

Tour our Fetal Center

Watch this video tour to learn what to expect at your first visit to the Wood Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment.

Pregnant Mom and Child

What to Expect

From the moment of referral through delivery and postnatal care, your family can expect a supportive experience when you come to us with a diagnosis of a birth defect.