When Penny Waguespack was pregnant with her daughter, Ava, doctors from the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Sibley Heart Center told her and her husband, Andrew, their baby had a heart defect. Thankfully, Ava, now 6, was among a small percentage of children whose heart defects repair themselves and long-term treatment was not needed.
To show their gratitude for the care Ava received, the Waguespacks began donating to Children’s in 2008. They have steadily increased their giving in the past four years, joining the Dream Society in 2011. Penny said they know others rely on the hospital for much greater needs.
“We have friends with children who’ve spent months at Children’s. They all rave about the care they received,” she said. “This was our way to give back to our own community and to help those who really need it.”
Andrew said supporting Children’s enables them to make an impact in Atlanta and beyond. “I hear stories about families traveling hundreds of miles just so they can use the world-class facilities at Children’s, and it reminds me how privileged I am to have access to such a wonderful operation within 10 minutes of my home,” he said. “We want to be able to help other families outside our community—and certainly those within—and extend our reach to others in need.”
The Waguespacks also take advantage of the opportunities offered to donors of Children’s. Penny is a member of Hope’s Circle, and Andrew has developed new friendships with male donors through Will’s Club.
“Will’s Club has connected me to fathers who I may have never met. We share a common cause, and we can bond on a social level and decompress during stressful times,” he said, adding that he is glad to form friendships outside of the business world. “It is nice to support other fathers in need, and I hope I maintain these relationships for a long time.”