Sandy Wolf’s commitment to Children’s Hospital Colorado is deeply personal. More than 40 years ago, when she was 25 and pregnant with twin boys, she suffered an unthinkable loss. Both of her babies, Michael and Matthew, died at birth.
“My heart was so broken,” said Sandy. “No matter how long it’s been or how many more children you have, you never stop grieving what should have been yours.”
But in her grief, Sandy found a purpose. Through philanthropy, she wanted to help give babies access to lifesaving interventions that weren’t available for her twins – and prevent other families from experiencing the devastating pain of losing a child.
“I had searched throughout my lifetime to find a place for my twin boys to rest in my heart,” said Sandy. “In 2011, I received a call from Jen Darling at Children’s Hospital Colorado Foundation. She told me about a program that could save babies’ lives and lessen the need for intense medical care at birth.”
Jen told Sandy about new advances in fetal surgery being developed at Children’s Colorado. These groundbreaking in-utero procedures could save the life of an unborn child and prevent a host of medical issues after birth. Sandy also learned about a new fetal surgeon who was being recruited to Children’s Colorado: Dr. Ken Liechty, a renowned expert in maternal-fetal medicine.
“I learned about the miracles that Dr. Liechty and his team could accomplish with a mom and baby in-utero,” said Sandy. “My excitement was like I won the lottery. I could finally have an explanation. I could finally have a place to put the pain of losing my boys.”
In 2011, Sandy made a $2 million gift to establish the Sandy Wolf Endowed Chair in Maternal Fetal Surgery with Dr. Liechty as chairholder. Sandy continues to work full-time to fund the endowment, and says that she will continue to work “to ensure that other people don’t have to endure what I went through.”
“If these procedures had been available 40 years ago, my twins would be alive today,” said Sandy. “In a way, this gift has brought my life full circle.”
Since Sandy made her generous gift, Children’s Colorado has become home to one of the foremost fetal surgery programs in the nation, performing hundreds of fetal procedures on patients hailing from 45 states. Her gift has enabled Dr. Liechty and his team to make extraordinary strides forward in maternal-fetal medicine. Children’s Colorado now boasts some of the best survival rates in the country for fetal surgery.
Sandy isn’t the first in her family to support Children’s Colorado. Over the past several decades, her parents have supported a multitude of hospital programs and helped to establish Children’s Colorado’s first mental health unit through The Melvin and Elaine Wolf Foundation. They contributed a cardiac life support system in one of the hospital’s original Flight for Life helicopters, as well as numerous beloved sculptures to the hospital’s art collection. The Wolf Family Resource Library they funded offers a wealth of information for patients and families.
Sandy is proud of her family’s long tradition of giving to help children and families.
“I don’t just love Children’s Colorado because I had a life-altering experience,” said Sandy. “The best part of giving is seeing how much progress is being made and knowing that you’re giving families hope. It doesn't matter if you give $20 or $2 million, giving is always a sacrifice and every bit makes a difference.”