Why I Give to Franciscan: Theresa Walters, Gig Harbor

Theresa Walters’ motivation to improve health care access in her community started early. At 28, when she first moved to the Key Peninsula, there wasn’t a single physician caring for the area’s residents. Theresa joined a group determined to recruit a physician, and the Key Peninsula Health Center was born.

Now, 27 years later, Theresa serves on the board for Franciscan Foundation, and she and her husband Charles are major donors to the St. Anthony Hospital campaign. “People on the Peninsula have had to drive a long distance, over the bridge, when something was wrong,” Theresa says. “Soon we’ll have the medical care and equipment we need, right here. This hospital really is going to save lives.”

The mother of three boys—all born at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma—Theresa says she has felt a connection to CHI Franciscan Health since she was very young. As a little girl, she frequently visited her grandfather at St. Joseph, where an illness kept him hospitalized for a year. She remembers the kindness of the nuns who ran the hospital in those days, and says their influence at Franciscan lives on and keeps the organization on track today.

“They’re here for everyone, the rich and the poor, and their mission and outreach make our communities better,” Theresa says. “I appreciate the fact that they care for patients’ mental health, as well as their physical health. And I fully support their work outside the facilities, as they reach out to address health issues in the community.

“There’s a lot of work to be done, and I think it’s really important for all of us to be involved.”