Stories are powerful. They inspire us. They humble us. And they drive us to take action. Each individual involved in the Center for Women’s Health Research has been brought to it by a personal or professional story. As the narratives of researchers and donors continue to unfold, they build the story of the Center for Women’s Health Research.
On this page, you’ll find some of our stories. Stories of donors. Of founders. Of junior researchers and established physician-scientists. Enjoy these stories. Then share them or become a part of them with your donation.
The Story of Jacqueline’s Gift
One very special story is the story of Jacqueline's Gift. Granted in 2005 by Karen and Steven Leaffer to honor the short life of their infant daughter, Jacqueline Marie Leaffer, this $300,000 gift has dramatically fueled the advancement of our programs.
The story began as the Leaffers were joyfully anticipating the birth of twins—a girl and a boy. Late in her pregnancy, Karen developed a rare condition called peripartum cardiomyopathy. Little is known about this type of cardiomyopathy, a disease that cannot be predicted or prevented and whose symptoms can be mistaken for typical symptoms of pregnancy. Untreated, it can lead to congestive heart failure and death.
Thirty-one weeks into her pregnancy, Karen was admitted to the hospital in the final stages of congestive heart failure. She underwent an emergency Caesarean section. Karen and their infant son, Jacob, survived. Tragically, Jacqueline died after 11 short days. In the Leaffers' commitment to ensure Jacqueline's life "was not a life unrealized," they decided systemic change was needed in women's health research—and that the most lasting way to honor Jacqueline was to address that need.
As Karen has explained, "We found a partner in the Center for Women's Health Research. We decided to give ALL of the resources we had set aside to build Jacqueline's life to the Center—her college fund, her wedding fund, her safety net—because we believe the work of this Center can help shape the future of women's health care. Jacqueline's Gift is the gift of our daughter to future generations of women."
We’re grateful and honored that the following individuals, foundations, and organizations have added to the story and to Jacqueline’s legacy by contributing at a significant level:
The Colorado Trust; Judi and Joe Wagner; Mary Lee and Don Beauregard; Joy Burns; Toni and Jim Cohig; the Gooding Family Foundation; Ginger Graham, Barbara Grogan; George Ann Harding; Susan and Dick Kirk; the List Family Foundation; Mary Sissel; Bea Taplin; CU School of Medicine and Department of Medicine.