Joseph and Mary Stern weren’t ones to soak up the spotlight. Their long-standing philanthropic support of charities throughout Cincinnati was motivated by one thing — their unrelenting commitment to community.

“Mom and dad cared deeply about this city and knew Cincinnati Children’s is one of our crown jewels,” says their son, Peter Stern, MD. “It was important to them to leave a lasting legacy there.” 

Peter suspects there might be another reason, too. In 1981, his 11-year-old daughter, Kim, was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. She needed a bone marrow transplant (BMT) to survive. “Back then, Cincinnati didn’t have a BMT unit,” he explains. “So we traveled to Minnesota for her care.”

Kim’s treatment was successful, and today she’s happy, healthy and living in Seattle with her own family. “My parents knew the importance of high quality medicine, and they wanted to be a part of ensuring it for Cincinnati’s kids,” Peter says.

So, the Sterns made the decision to include a gift to Cincinnati Children’s in their estate plans, with the aim of advancing cancer care and research. They wanted to help kids, like their granddaughter, get world-class care in their own backyard. Inspired by his parents, Peter has also included the medical center in his estate plans. 

Thanks to the partnership of generous donors, like the Stern family, today Cincinnati Children’s has the number one pediatric cancer program in the nation. 

And while the Sterns didn’t make their $2.4 million gift with any sort of eye for recognition, Peter is pleased to know their name will be preserved in the halls of our new Critical Care Building.

“The Mary and Joseph S. Stern, Jr. Bone Marrow Unit will be a lasting legacy for my parents,” he says. “They would be thrilled to know that families across the country now travel here — to Cincinnati — for the best cancer care for their children.”